What is 5G?
Everyone has probably heard a mobile carrier talk about “5G” recently. So, what is it? Well, 5G refers to the 5th generation of mobile networks. Currently, most modern phones are using 4G LTE. Though it is fast, it doesn’t handle downloading large files very well. Most Wi-Fi networks are faster than 4G data speeds. 5G is considerably quicker, up to 20 times faster than 4G! This means that apps, videos, and even movies will download in seconds. By now, you are probably asking yourself, “What’s the hold-up? 5G sounds amazing!” Unfortunately, we are still several years away from nationwide coverage.
Building a 5G Infrastructure
One of the slowest parts about introducing a new mobile network standard is getting all the pieces in place. This is made especially more complicated in relation to 5G because of the way it is transmitted. It is transmitted using very high-frequency waves, called millimeter waves. These higher frequency waves are what makes 5G capable of immensely higher speeds than previous generations. However, this is where we run into our first significant drawback. Higher frequency waves have significantly less range than the previous generation of data. Therefore, building the infrastructure for 5G is going to take a large investment and many years of construction. Previous generations of data networks required just a few cell towers to cover a city. However, 5G will practically require you to put up a transmitter box on every street corner. This means that simply being across the street or behind a building can cause you to lose up to 80% of your connection.
5G Mobile Devices
Another factor limiting your access to the next generation of data is owning a mobile device compatible with the 5G network. You must have the proper hardware to take advantage of the faster speeds. Samsung is in the process of the rolling out 5G compatible Galaxy devices. The disadvantage? These Galaxy devices are significantly more expensive than the standard Galaxy devices ($400-500) more. Mobile carries might advertise that they are offering a 5G network. However, you will need to have a 5G compatible device to be able to take advantage of these higher speeds.
The final roadblock are the wireless carriers. The carriers themselves must invest millions of dollars per city to get decent 5G coverage in the area. It is a massive project. Taking into consideration just the cost of labor to install a box on every street corner, it seems virtually impossible. It is estimated to cost roughly $500 billion to give Americans nationwide 5G coverage.
How long is the wait?
Over the next few years, we will see heavily populated metropolitan areas start to get coverage. (Chicago, New York, LA, etc.) More rural areas will have to wait much longer and may not have full 5G coverage and support by 2025. The final wait time will be put on the willingness of the carriers to make multi-billion-dollar investments.
In summary, 5G is incredible, the speeds are almost unimaginable, but might not be supported in your city for many years. Genius Phone Repair is an excellent resource to get updates on the latest technology. With multiple locations throughout Indiana and Michigan, a Genius is always available to help!