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5G

5G is almost a reality - here's what to expect

17 Apr 2020
Joseph

Seph

amaysim's tech geek

The next generation of mobile network technology is inching closer and closer, which means one thing; faster data speeds right?

Yes, it’s true, the arrival of 5G will bring faster than ever speeds to our mobile devices, however, it remains to be seen whether the hype surrounding 5G will live up to expectations.

I mean there are claims 5G will allow us to download an entire HD movie in 6 seconds, which seems downright ridiculous, yet also amazing.

So...what can we actually expect once 5G arrives?

What is 5G technology?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile network technology that’s set to offer speeds we’ve simply never seen before on our mobile devices.

There’s no question 4G has significantly enhanced the way we’ve been able to explore the internet from the palm of our hands, and although 4G speeds have been a revelation, the maximum download rate for 4G connections sits around 1GBps.

This is where things get interesting; 5G networks are set to handle data rates of up to 20Gbps, possibly even more as the network evolves over the coming years, meaning 5G has the potential to be twenty times as fast as 4G.

What does 5G mean?

“5G” simply means “fifth generation” of mobile networks. The way things are looking, we expect newer to be better, with 5G delivering download speeds we’ve never seen before on our mobile devices. 5G is the next generation, so if you’re wondering how 5G works, for the most part, it’s the same as the previous generations, just faster and more high-tech.

How does 5G work?

All data travels along radio waves, and each generation of mobile networks gives us access to more frequencies along those waves.

A higher frequency means more data transferred per second. 1G travelled along 1.9 gigahertz (GHz) waves, 2G and 3G along 2.1GHz waves, and 4G along 2.5 gigahertz (GHz) waves.

5G can transmit data along frequencies up to 86GHz, which is massively fast! What all this means, is the higher the frequency of radio wave you use, the easier you can transmit data and information, and you can do it all at higher performance levels.

How fast is 5G technology?

There’s no question 4G has significantly enhanced the way we’ve been able to explore the internet from the palm of our hands. 4G speeds have been a revelation, although the maximum download rate for 4G connections sits around 1GBps. The 5G connection estimates sit a lot higher.

5G networks are set to handle data rates of up to 20Gbps, possibly even more as the network evolves over the coming years.

How much faster is 5G than 4G?

The 5G network has the potential to be up to twenty times as fast as 4G. These ‘peak speeds’ all sound well and good but we will have to see how they hold up in the real world.

When will 5G be available across Australia?

Initial access to 5G services will depend on your location. Metro CBD areas in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane already have access to 5G network coverage. Anyone in more rural areas will have to wait a little longer. We expect the full 5G to roll out throughout all of Australia over the next few years.

Will 5G be faster than the NBN?

It’s entirely possible that 5G networks will be able to deliver better speeds than the maximum NBN speeds. That’s one of the biggest benefits of 5G networks!

This is encouraging more and more people to consider if they need to jump on the 5G bandwagon.

Most people will be able to function just fine without 5G, so if you’re wondering “what is 5G internet and do I need it?” for now, you don’t strictly need it. However, 5G is absolutely the future and we’ll all be using this newer network soon enough.

Do I need a 5G mobile device to access the benefits of 5G technology?

In a word, yes. Even though 5G sites went live before 5G-capable devices were accessible, this was to offer a functioning 5G network to people with devices, when they eventually got them.

It’s a bit like Wi-Fi being available even though all our computers could only work on wired networks. Back then, we had to wait until we upgraded to a Wi-Fi compatible device to be able to use those wireless networks, and it’s exactly the same now.

Fortunately, the big brands in the industry have already started selling their 5G-capable devices. Not all brands have committed to releasing 5G phones yet, though we expect it to become standard with enough time, just like Wi-Fi did.

So to answer those questions from the beginning (“what is 5G and do I need a 5G phone?”) 5G is just the new network mobile devices will use, and if you want to use it, you will need a 5G-compatible phone.

Rumours are the iPhone 12 that will be released later this year will be 5g compatible, fingers crossed!

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