By now, you’ve likely caught wind of the 5G buzz. (It’s everywhere, and with good reason.) But, for everyday consumers, it begs the question: Will it actually impact my life? The answer is yes and no.
First let’s clarify what 5G actually is. In simple terms, it’s the latest in wireless broadband technology; the next generation after 4G LTE, which is now available to 98 percent of Americans. What’s particularly noteworthy is that it has the potential of giving you speeds up to one gigabyte per second. That’s essentially 500 times faster than average LTE speeds in this country today.
As Gizmodo puts into perspective, speeds like this would allow you to download an entire HD movie in just a few seconds—compared to the hour or so it currently takes to do this with LTE. It’s essentially being built for the proliferation of devices that solely need broadband Internet.
But while all eyes are on mobile, our team actually predicts that 5G will have the greatest impact in the home. Imagine having all your home devices connected in real time; from your air conditioner to your washer and dryer to your car. In other words it has the potential to bring a fundamental change to the way we go about our connected devices, which is exciting.
According to a PC World report, 5G technology depends on higher frequency bands than what we use for smartphones. This will leverage virtually untouched (and uncluttered) spectrum. Unfortunately, radio waves at frequencies this high have a hard time going long distances. This is precisely why industry experts are expecting 5G home broadband to initially roll out using fixed wireless technology, which would likely necessitate an antenna. But with speeds this fast, we doubt consumers will mind all that much.
Now let’s get back to mobile. With the major carriers expected to start testing 5G technology next year, many are left wondering how it’ll ultimately affect their almighty smartphone. Let’s first take a look at what most of us use them for in the first place—talking, texting, browsing the web, and streaming music. When you look at the simpler picture, it isn’t all that surprising that more and more people are actually opting for more reasonably priced carriers that aren’t quite as fast.
This is because consumers are realizing that ultra-fast speed isn’t necessarily worth all the extra money and a lot of the high-speed Internet provided by different carriers is capped. People are coming to find that high speed internet really don’t make that big of a difference to their mobile lives. Affordable data plans have more impact.
But at the end of the day, having the capability of taking your broadband connection everywhere is pretty exciting—and one gigabyte of download speed is simply amazing. As for how 5G will actually impact our day-to-day lives, only time will tell. It looks like we can expect to see it widely implemented by 2019; 2020 at the latest.
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