Get Ready for 5G!

The mobile networks that our smartphones and other devices rely on to connect to the Internet today typically use 4G technology. According to Stephen Shankland reporting for c|net on the 2015 Mobile World Congress, higher-performance fifth-generation networks are coming soon and the possibilities seem endless. Gartner predicts the number of devices connected to the Internet to increase from 5 billion in 2015 to 25 billion by 2020.

Using 5G technology, sensors will be built into appliances, security systems, health monitors, door locks, cars, and wearable devices. "You'll have tags on your dogs talking to devices in your home," says Femi Adeyemi, lead mobile architect for Fujitsu. "You'll know when your children come home. Cars on the highway will be autonomously managed."

The difference in speed will be awesome as well. 5G networks will allow for downloads at up to 10Gbs. Compared to the relative “slowness” of today’s 4G networks (about 100-150Mbps) events will happen in “real time.” 5G networks will bring augmented reality and virtual reality applications into the mainstream. Augmented reality superimposes information like driving directions, product prices or acquaintances' names over our view of the real world. For example, you might think of “Google Glass” as an early type of Augmented Reality device. On the other hand, Virtual Reality creates an entirely new and artificial view of the world.

5G will also shorten the delay before beginning a download. Waiting a few seconds for a streaming video to start at 4G speeds may seem like no big deal, but that's way too slow for things like self-driving cars, where every millisecond counts. 4G needs at least 15 to 25 milliseconds for a car to tell the one behind it that it has begun emergency braking. That delay will drop to 1 millisecond with 5G.

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