What is 5G?

by Peter Griffin / 12 March, 2019
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Image/Getty Images

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As the controversy continues over Huawei and 5G networks, Peter Griffin explains what the fifth generation of cellphone technology will mean for you.

Faster speeds: 5G will be up to 100 times faster than 4G, which means that a high-definition movie that took seven minutes to download will take less than 10 seconds on 5G.

Faster connections: 5G will dramatically reduce the lag or “latency” in connections between phones and servers, which will improve the quality of time-sensitive services such as video streaming, virtual reality and online gaming.

More cell sites: the use of higher radio frequencies to achieve faster speeds will require more cell sites to be built to fill in coverage gaps. But they won’t be the big cell towers that dot the landscape now. Most will be small units, similar to Wi-Fi base stations attached to buildings and on lamp posts.

A world of sensors: with ubiquitous instant connectivity, sensors in cars, robots, household devices and the infrastructure of smart cities will eventually join the 5G network, enabling unprecedented information flows.

This article was first published in the March 9, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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