There’s a lot of talk about 5G — how it’ll impact the Internet of Things, the low latency and lightning-fast speeds, and of course, whether or not it causes the Coronavirus (it doesn’t — let’s be clear on that). In fact, there’s no evidence that 5G technology has any adverse health effects. It’s simply the next generation of wireless technology, and you should hop on.
here are a lot of misconceptions about 5G, so let’s clear the air. 5G is the successor of 4G wireless technology, which of course came after 3G networks. 3G gave us the ability to browse the internet on mobile devices, and 4G expanded that power with faster download speeds and HD streaming capability. The 5G evolution is the next step in wireless technology and will drastically change the way we live and work once again.
5G networks use higher radio frequencies to transmit data — which travel at super-high speeds, but not as far or as well through hard surfaces. The deployment of 5G, then, requires installing many small cells that can intercept these high-band spectrum frequencies and bounce them around. Because of this, the 5G rollout is going city by city and will take a while to fully implement. Cellular networks like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile began their rollouts of 5G service last year. Until we have 5G access everywhere, though, most carriers will use a mix of network types and frequencies to ensure full coverage.
4G vs. 5G
So, how much better is 5G than 4G? For starters, 5G download speeds can be up to 100 times faster than 4G LTE. That means you can download a two-hour movie in under 10 seconds, whereas it would take you about seven minutes on a 4G network. 5G will also have far greater mobile bandwidth than 4G, meaning it can accommodate more devices at once. Even if you’re in a large crowd, for example, you should still have a fast connection (provided there are small cell receptors in close range). This increased bandwidth also means we can connect more devices to the Internet of Things, like self-driving cars.
One of the most impressive advancements is the incredibly low latency of 5G devices. Latency is how long it takes for your device to make a request from a server and get a response (clicking a link, for example). With 5G, these responses are delivered almost instantaneously. All of these capabilities lead the way to amazing technological innovations like surgery performed by robots.
To connect to a 5G network, you must have a 5G-enabled device — which means it’s new phone time! As of right now, there are only a handful of 5G phones on the market. Some of the best smartphones so far in 2020 include:
- Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G: The Note10+ 5G has a beautiful 6.8-inch OLED display and the trademark stylus. The rear camera scores highly for still image and video quality.
- Samsung Galaxy S20: Some of the best (and most expensive) 5G smartphones currently available, the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra have great cameras and battery life.
- OnePlus 8: The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro both score highly in display and performance, though the camera isn’t quite as good as some of the other 5G phones.
- LG V60 ThinQ 5G: With the ability to shoot video in 8K, a 45-hour battery life, and an optional attachable dual screen, this LG smartphone is definitely among the best.
As with any big purchase, you should compare the top models before you buy. If you aren’t a fan of Android phones, you won’t have to wait much longer before you can jump on the 5G wagon. Apple is expected to release a new 5G-enabled iPhone this fall.
Faster speeds, lower latency, and greater bandwidth — what’s not to like about 5G? It may be a few more years before we have full 5G coverage across the country, but check with your service provider to see if you can start enjoying the benefits of a 5G network today.