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Are You Ready for 5G?

Are You Ready for 5G?

Get ready, everybody! A new wireless technology is comin' round the bend: 5G.

“Shut the front door!” you say. “I just figured out what 4G is all about. Are we really up to number 5 already?” Well, sort of.

Wireless technology has been evolving since the 1980s. We've watched it morph the same way a lot of us watched Doogie Howser, Cleo Huxtable, and Steve Urkel grow up. Each decade brings with it a bounty of advancements in wireless technology. We began with analog-loving 1G in the 80s, advanced to voice-obsessed 2G in the 90s, hit the data-loving 3G mark in 2001, and now we're comfortably settled into the delights of video-transmitting 4G. But wait! We all know 5G is next.

Why not start thinking about it now, today? We are.

What's (Going to Be) So Great About 5G?

Tech junkies have fallen in love with 5G before it's even hit the commercial market. The funny thing is, many are still struggling to define it. Nokia Solutions and Networks representative Hossein Moiin recently admitted that he has “no idea what 5G is.” That's not a concern for Moiin, however; his company is one of five founding members of the 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership, or PPP, an exploratory group that was formed last December to research technologies and develop standards for the yet-unseen 5G.

Even though bigwigs like Moiin admit the 5G slate is still pretty empty at this point, we do know a few concrete details about future rock star 5G. We know that:

Data Will Zoom

Wireless technology is all about the speedy delivery of data. With 5G, data will fly like it's never flown before. It will zoom.

It appears that the scientists at Samsung, in the name of 5G, have already jump started the process that could see our data transmit hundreds of times faster it does today. One year ago, Samsung reported that it was using the technology to transmit more than one gigabyte of data in one second. The ability to transmit massive files of data has great implications for the entertainment and medical industries; consumers will be able to enjoy movies and games at the drop of a hat, and patients will be able to get doctoral attention from any location.

The Spectrum Will Stretch

Wireless technology is phenomenally awesome, but it's limited. Our electromagnetic spectrum can only stretch so far. If we halted innovation beyond 4G but continued to manufacture digital gadgets galore, we'd soon run out of radio waves. There wouldn't be enough to go around, and society would suddenly become two-tiered: Those rich enough to afford pricey wireless technology would sit happily on top, and those who could not afford it would languish, sans the security blanket of wireless connectivity, on bottom.

Thankfully, 5G will level the playing field by more efficiently mining our electromagnetic spectrum. 5G will “work smarter, not harder,” employing technology like MiMo to ensure that every user in a network receives a data stream.

So go ahead and enjoy your 4G-enabled gadgets, but remember that something bigger and better is coming. Isn't something bigger and better always coming? In the fast-moving world of IT innovation, change for the better seems to be the status quo.

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