5G stands for Fifth Generation Cellular Network Technology.

It is the technology that enables wireless communication – for example, from your cell phone to a cell phone tower, which channels it to the Internet. 5G is a network service provided by telecommunications carriers and is not the same as the 5 GHz band on your Wi-Fi router.

5G offers an order of magnitude – 10 times – more bandwidth than its predecessor, 4G. The greater bandwidth is possible because beyond low and medium frequency radio waves, 5G uses additional higher frequency waves to encode and transport information.

Bandwidth is analogous to the width of a highway. The wider the highway, the more lanes it can have and the more cars it can carry at the same time. This makes 5G much faster and able to handle a lot more devices.

5G can deliver speeds of around 50 megabits per second, up to over 1 gigabit per second. A gigabit per second connection lets you download a high definition movie in under a minute. Does this mean more poor cellular connections in crowded places? The increased bandwidth will help, but just as increasing the number of lanes on freeways doesn’t always reduce traffic jams, as more and more people use extended freeways, 5G is likely to carry much more. more traffic than 4G networks, so you might not get a good connection sometimes.

In addition to connecting your cellular phone and laptop, 5G will connect many other devices ranging from photo frames to toasters as part of the Internet of Things revolution. So even though 5G can handle up to a million devices per square mile, all that bandwidth could be quickly used up and require more – a future 5.5G with even more bandwidth.

Flavors of 5G

5G can use low, mid, and high band frequencies, each with advantages and disadvantages. Low frequency waves can travel farther but are slower. High frequency waves travel faster but can only travel limited distances. The higher frequency 5G can reach speeds of gigabit per second, which promises to make Ethernet and other wired connections obsolete in the future. Currently, however, the higher frequency comes at a higher cost and is therefore only deployed where it is needed most: in crowded urban areas, stadiums, convention centers, airports and concert halls.

One type of 5G service, ultra-reliable, low-latency communications, can be used when data needs to be transmitted without loss or interruption of service, for example to control drones in disaster areas. Someday, after the technology is more robust, it could even be used for remote surgery.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: https://theconversation.com/what-is-5g-an-electrical-engineer-explains-173196.

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