AMA: What is 5G?
5G is the next-generation network that will supersede 4G, and it’s supposed to be significantly faster. But how fast, exactly?
Nobody actually knows. That’s because 5G standards haven’t been finalized yet, but early trials have delivered connections as fast as 1Gbps to 36Gbps. That’s much faster than current 4G LTE-A standards, which max out at 1Gbps.
Besides bandwidth, 5G has a lower latency rate than 4G, so devices can communicate almost instantaneously on the network — something you’ll want for a drone or driverless car. It can also support more concurrent users and devices, so people can stream Netflix next to you and they won’t slow down your connection.
However, because 5G will use higher frequencies than 4G, the signals don’t travel as far, and have more difficulty getting through obstacles. Carriers not only have to upgrade their infrastructure, they’ll have to install more antennas for 5G to work.
5G sounds great, but you’ll need to wait a little longer to be able to sign up for a 5G plan. While trials are already being conducted around the world, the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance expects 5G to be commercially available only in 2020.