High speed, low latency, VR and Internet of Things: What 5G promises

  • Tech News
  • Saturday, 30 Mar 2019

The biggest advantages from the next generation in high-speed Internet won't be seen on your phone. — dpa

Smartphone makers are looking to 5G to bring faster Internet speeds to users. But despite a wave of overpriced 5G phones coming our way, the biggest advantages from the next generation in high-speed Internet won't be seen on your phone.

Tech companies have been promoting the benefits of 5G mobile networks for some time now and the recent Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona saw more 5G technology on display than ever before. But what exactly is 5G and what new applications will it enable?

5G is the fifth generation mobile communication standard. It can transport data faster than its predecessors (around 100 times faster than 4G) and offers low latency – latency being any delay in data transmission over a network.

It can also connect more devices in each mobile cell than the previous standards could while also pinpointing their location more accurately.

Because of the low latency, data can be transmitted close to real time, making 5G attractive for tasks such as the operation of remote-controlled vehicles and precision robots.

It also makes telemedicine possible. At the MWC a surgeon was able to advise colleagues remotely as they operated on a patient, thanks to real time pictures transmitted by 5G.

Some applications require the highest possible data transfer rates (video playback, for example) while others transmit small amounts of data but need very low latency (such as drones or self-driving vehicles).

Then there's the Internet of Things (IOT) which seeks the most energy-efficient connection for countless devices. 5G is able to facilitate all of these different requirements by dividing a network up into many virtual networks.

5G is considered indispensable for industry, for example in managing factory equipment or autonomous vehicles. Intelligent traffic control systems are also being planned in which traffic lights would work according to the actual traffic volume at that moment.

For the ordinary consumer, 5G smartphones are on the way. Virtual Reality is also expected to be revolutionised by the new technology.

Today, the intensive computational work for immersion in digital worlds must be done locally – either in the headset worn by the player or by a connected computer.

However, with a stable and fast cloud connection, network servers could do this work instead. Headsets could then become lighter and more portable.

Even so, despite all its potential advantages, 5G is not expected to completely replace 4G. For many requirements the older technology will still be sufficient. – dpa
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