5G will mark the end of traditional Wi-Fi and will be the fastest cellular signal technology the world has ever experienced. It will be the new way wireless devices, like cell phones, tablets, and laptops, connect and will power the IoT (Internet of Things).
It’s not only “how” these devices will connect through new 5G technology, but how quickly they connect, promising up to 20 times faster download speed than today’s 4G.
To keep up with the increasing demand of adding more wireless devices on a cluttered 4G network, 5G was introduced as a different way to connect them much faster – almost in real time – through a new type of radio frequency called millimeter waves, or extremely high frequencies (EHF), and will deliver data speeds of about 100mbps (megabits per second – the speed of an internet connection), compared to 4G at 40mbps.
5G promises to deliver lower latency (the time it takes to travel between devices), much higher bandwidth, and exceedingly fast download speeds. Experts say movies that take minutes to download through 4G could soon take only milliseconds.
High-frequency millimeter waves refer to the small size of its wavelengths, ranging from 1 to 10 millimeters, and can be used to transfer large amounts of data. The reach of millimeter waves is shorter and will drop faster with increased distance than lower-frequency signals like 4G. It will be highly susceptible to objects like people, trees, rain, and buildings, making it difficult for the signal pass through and reach its destination.
Because the reach of millimeter waves are shorter, doesn’t travel as far, and can’t penetrate through most objects, telecom companies plan to install 5G antennas roughly every two to ten houses in order to maintain acceptable wireless reception. However, if you’re in a densely populated or metropolitan area you may see considerably more antennas pop up in your neighborhood. 5G antennas are much smaller than normal cell phone towers and will be mounted on things like streetlights and electric poles.
With the massive rise of cell phone tower installations and the close proximity to homes, schools, and places of business, there is growing concern from the public, scientists and parents around the world about the health risks from the up-close and constant radiation exposure.
5G millimeter wave technology hasn’t been widely tested for consumer health and safety, and although industries are currently developing what the criteria will be, there is no standard yet for 5G networks.
5G is now being tested in many cities across the world and is expected to be released on a grander scale by mid-2020.