• Sameeksha Sethi

5G – A Technology Update

The world of communication has come a long way. We hear from our grandparents and see in movies how one person in the entire neighbourhood used to have a big, black telephone with a circular disk in the middle; whereas now the Internet has managed to bring people together from different parts of the world with the power of one touch. Have we ever wondered – what is the recent news on telecommunication, and what is the new technology going to bring in?


The latest update in the telecommunication world is of 5G. The ‘G’ stands for Generation and refers to the generation for network coverage and speed. Interestingly, this is the first generation where the previous generation (4G) isn’t being replaced; which means 5G will be building on the 4G LTE network (the LTE stands for ‘long-term evolution). Some figures attached to the 5G network as mentioned by I’mnovation Hub include: 5G connection speed might transmit over 10 Gbps (gigabytes per second) vs 21 Mbps (megabytes per second) transmitted by 4G; connection latency will reduce from 50 milliseconds to 1 millisecond; there will be more reach as there will be 1 million nodes per km2. All this means there is a huge potential for having an even better-connected world with faster downloads, fewer delays and more users.


Lining up with these technical terms and numbers, the impacts of this new telecommunication technology would be many and possibly will affect various aspects of our life. Starting with energy consumption, one might think a better and faster network would mean it uses more energy and would lead to depletion of resources. However, Ericsson mentions that their proposition allows building a smart 5G network, which would actually help save energy. The economic impact is going to be quite big as PwC reports by 2030, 5G applications will add $330 billion to the global GDP in smart utility management, $15 billion to US GDP in industrial manufacturing and $44 billion to US GDP in healthcare. This might also lead to more jobs as the mobile providers and companies involved in setting up the network back-end would need more staff. One of the main impacts, and benefit, would be that users would have access to a greater pool of information and would be able to find answers, download movies or connect via video calls much quicker. However, this might also mean that people end up spending more time in front of screens, which might lead to further health implications.


The one question left to think about who is deploying this technology and where did it start from? According to Forbes, China, South Korea and the United States are countries that are leading the world in building and deploying this technology. Huawei is a company that is involved in quite a few countries in helping make this technology successfully implemented. However, after the United States restricted using Huawei’s equipment citing that there might be some security issues, other countries are also reconsidering their decisions, and some like Australia have banned it too.


The picture below depicts the recent status of the implementation and introduction of 5G technology around the globe.


(Source: Statista)


Hence, it can be said that 5G certainly puts forward a strong case of the advantages it can bring about if and when deployed fully throughout the world; but how will that happen and who will do it (if now Huawei for some countries) is yet to be seen. Until then, we can continue using 4G LTE and wait for 5G to make it obsolete.

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