The first big tech event of the year was last months Consumer Electronics Show 2019. It had everything from foldable tv screens to a VR rollercoaster to a ping pong playing robot! In true Las Vegas fashion, CES boasts hundreds of companies flashing their newest, brightest, and most entertaining products.  This year, the keynote subject was evident with large 5G signs propagating the show floor. With some touting 5G as the fourth technological revolution, it seems time for all of us to pay attention. Read more below about what 5G is, the economic impact it could have, and when we might get to experience it.

 
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5G has the potential to be the “the 4th industrial revolution”. If the hype wasn’t real before, it is now after CES 2019. Here are a few reasons why so many people are talking about 5G.

  • Next Generation of Network- faster, stronger, and more capable

  • IOT (Internet of Things)- think smart cities, homes, robot receptionists, you name it.

  • Economic Potential- can create new industries and completely alter existing ones

 

As one of the biggest hype-men for 5G technology, Hans Vestburg has announced Verizon’s “5G Challenge”. No, this is not an internet trend that will flood your Instagram feed like the infamous “Tide Pod Challenge” or my personal favorite, 2017’s “Mannequin Challenge”. It’s a real competition to motivate developers to create 5G capable applications, with the winner receiving $1 million in seed money from Verizon. Read more about the challenge.

 

How does 5G work? Why is it better than 4g or LTE?

5G is the 5th generation of cellular networks. Each one has been better than it’s respective predecessor, but 5G is set to be a quantum leap forward. Cellular networks work by transmitting and sending data over radio waves. As you can imagine, the space for these waves has dwindled as our world has continually seen an increasing number of these devices. However, 5G will be operating on different airwaves, one of which will make it up to 50% faster than LTE. Another is the millimeter wave, a higher GHz frequency that is far less crowded. This will allow 5G to flourish (speeds 100 to 1000 times faster) and provide network-wide improvements in reducing latency, faster download speeds, and the ability for multiple devices to connect to each other.

 
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The ability of many devices to connect and communicate with each other in real time is possibly the most exciting aspect of 5G technology. It will help build and create the IOT, or Internet of Things, which is basically the entire network of the worlds connected devices (cars, smart home devices, and more).

Real-time communication between devices makes fully functional smart homes and cities a plausible reality. Futuristic industries like telemedicine, autonomous vehicles, and live stream VR will also greatly benefit from using the 5G network.

 

When will i be able to experience the 5g network?

With major executives, experts, and companies marketing the potential of 5G, you may begin craving those faster download speeds now. However, during CES, many writers and bloggers were upset at the lack of working 5G devices and displays. Companies like Samsung, Verizon, and T-Mobile were attempting to create a buzz, but left many deflated and impatient. With expectations of seeing more, the lackluster displays at CES left many confused at the future timeline of 5G implementation.

At the time of posting, 5G has been rolled out by AT&T in only 12 cities. Competitors Verizon and T-Mobile are promising similar rollouts in 2019, with the number of locations growing throughout the year. CES was a let down for many who anticipated seeing much more 5G capable hardware. As our friends the Migos would say, these companies did not, “Walk It, Like They Talk It”.

 
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The hopeful are anticipating that February’s Mobile World Conference (MWC) in Barcelona will be the 5G exhibition that CES was not. Consumers may need to practice some patience, but experts expect a strong 5G infrastructure by the end of 2020. Which is good news because there are currently roughly 26 billion connected devices making up the IoT, with it expected to grow to over 75 billion by 2025.

 

5g is For you, for me, eventually

Ultimately, 5G has the potential for huge social and economic impacts on the world. It’s being touted as the 4th industrial revolution with the benefits going far beyond individuals cell phones and connectivity. For a technology upgrade as conceivably impressive as this one, it’s no wonder why companies are trying to start the hype early. Although they might upset some impatient consumers in the process, it’s hard to refute the importance of the newest network. 2019 might be the first short step of a long journey to functional smart cities, but keep an eye out on more to come. 2020 will be here in no time, and hopefully, I won’t have to write this very same article.

 

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