Wireless

AT&T – 5G is coming, 5G is coming!

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Can it be true?

AT&T & Verizon recently announced it will begin a major roll out the new 5G standard in the US.  It will happen sometime in late 2018.  Yes, we heard the same thing in 2017 and for most of us, 2017 came and went without any 5G (for our mobile phones).  However AT&T and others have been doing test runs in 2017 and are making it happen in the mainstream 2018.

What is 5G?

The “G” stands for the generation in wireless technology.  Typically each generational advancement comes with some increase of speed / performance.  This is usually done by the way it encodes data, which also makes each generation incompatible with the previous.  In order for your device to communicate with older lesser services, each device would support multiple generations (up to a point).  Most devices don’t support 1G & 2G any longer.

What does this mean for my current phone?

This all depends on how it’s used and what is available in your area.  For your phones typical network usage, getting 5G means you’ll most-likely need to upgrade (unless you already purchased a 5G capable phone).  Remember when 4G came out and your phone only supported up to 3G?  Everyone went running to the store to upgrade  However not all is lost, 5G will also be available over WiFi.  This means you if you tap into a 5G WiFi, you’ll experience the amazing speeds.  Most of us already take advantage of this at home, so don’t rush out and buy a new phone just yet.

5G or 5G Evolution (Gigabit LTE)

AT&T has been building the hype for 5G for at least a year now.  They’ve been rolling out the “5G Evolution” (Gigabit LTE) networks, which is faster than 4G but let’s face it, it’s really just a marketing ploy.  The current “5G Evolution” isn’t true 5G but it is a significant increase in speed.  Gigabit LTE is first step in achieving true 5G and beyond.  Gigabit Lite does this by providing a solid foundation for high-bandwidth coverage for early 5G networks.  This ensures when your “true” 5G coverage is lost, your connection speed doesn’t take a nose dive.  What’s actually available to you this year and the next year will probably depend on geographical location.  If you’re in a hot spot for new technology, you’re in luck, if not, you’re not.

5G’s not just for your phone

As mentioned earlier, you can use 5G now (where available) on your current phone if it’s coming through an available WiFi.  Now imagine, future implementations being broadcasted to your homes network.  This will mean you can truly cut the cable for your home internet.  Instead of a cable or fiber running under your yard, you would have an small antenna outside of your home connected to a WiFi router inside your home.  The antenna will pick up the “millimeter wave” band that’s being transmitted from a cell tower, and presto you have 5G speeds in your home.  No more carriers tearing up your yard when new speeds become available!!

I feel the need for speed!

So what kind of speed are we actually talking about?  Real world conditions will always get in the way, but at Mobile World Congress 2017, Samsung showcased its 5G Home Routers achieving a speed of up to 4 gigabits per second, which equates to 500 megabytes per second.  That’s fast!  It may not be Google Fiber fast but the day will come when it surpasses it.