5G broad­band is a step closer

And Ap­ple has a li­cense to be­gin test­ing its technology for it

Mac|Life - - START - BY Par ker Wil­helm

Ap­ple has re­ceived the go-ahead to test 5G broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity, the first step in a long jour­ney towards the next gen­er­a­tion of wire­less comms. Granted by the FCC just a few months af­ter the com­pany ap­plied for it, the li­cense en­ables Ap­ple to con­duct tri­als with 5G mil­lime­ter wave technology on the 28GHz and 39GHz fre­quency bands.

The move comes shortly af­ter the reg­u­la­tory agency opened up the com­mer­cial sale of cer­tain 5G bands, with mo­bile carriers such as AT&T, Ver­i­zon, Sprint, and T-Mo­bile now mak­ing plans of their own to of­fer con­sumer-wide 5G within the next two years or so.

Ap­ple isn’t alone in test­ing mil­lime­ter wave (mmWave) broad­band; Google, Face­book, and most of the afore­men­tioned carriers are also tri­al­ing it. Com­pared to ex­ist­ing 4G technology, mmWave trans­mits at higher fre­quen­cies and with a smaller wave­length, which means la­tency is re­duced while trans­mis­sion ca­pac­ity is ex­panded. It’s not a magic bul­let, as is­sues such as line of sight can still im­pact its per­for­mance, but it has the po­ten­tial to be sub­stan­tially faster than 4G.

How­ever, the 5G standard has yet to be rat­i­fied, and is unlikely to be be­fore 2020 – so, cou­pled with the fact that Ap­ple some­times takes its time be­fore em­brac­ing new tech, ex­pect it to be quite a while be­fore a 5G iPhone emerges.

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