It’s been eons since I last blogged, credit to a myriad of assignment and exams to study for. Anyways… now that I’m back, I’ll try to write a blog-post every month over the summer break (with nothing related to studying, I promise!)

So, a couple of days ago, I was reading an article in a tech magazine about the differences between 4G and 5G networks, when I decided to write a blog-post on the topic. Not because I was out of ideas on what to blog about, rather to explain the characteristics and importance of the “next generation telecom networks” in layman’s terms.

So what exactly is 5G?

Research into 5G, which is an abbreviation for 5th generation, started out with the aim of improving the quality of wireless communication, and subsequently being able to serve a larger geographical area with a consistent quality of connection. The aim of telecommunication companies is to be able to serve everywhere (literally…) with a fast, good-quality wireless connection.

Beyond that, 5G is also expected to be a massive stepping stone to bringing Internet of Things (IoT) networks into our everyday life by the year 2020. Through this, computing devices would be able to transfer data over wireless networks, without the need for human intervention (imagine watching Netflix all weekend long, and getting your computer to type out your research paper on its own!).

 

The “Cool”s and the “Meh”s of 5G

Aimed at improving the quality of wireless communication, there are plenty of advantages that 5G networks will potentially posses. To begin with, they will provide low latency (faster connection between devices and cell towers), which is required for real-time interaction between two devices part of a wireless network. For example, a self-driving car would need prompt responses to stimuli to ensure the safety of its passengers. Furthermore, 5G networks will increase the bandwidth for users. For those who don’t know, bandwidth is the amount of space available to store and access data. An increased bandwidth would mean faster downloads and access to the internet, thus making it much easier to stream videos online and downloading large files.

However, one considerable drawback of 5G is that many more antennae would need to be installed to achieve appropriate connections. As most 4G users would have experienced, network coverage would often go down in rural or newly-built areas because the coverage of each antenna is reduced when bandwidth is increased. With an increased bandwidth for 5G networks, this will be a huge challenge for telecommunication companies to overcome.

If you are still unclear about the characteristics of 5G, or want to know more about it, check out this video by CNBC:

5G: Everything you need to know about it

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