5G is an investment for the next decade.
Its potential won’t be realized for several more years as it will take that long for the telecom carriers to build out the complex and expensive infrastructure necessary to support 5G’s new architecture.
What that means is that consumers and businesses can expect a little 5G now, but overall more of a mishmash of 5G and previous wireless technologies until this 5G buildout can be completed.
All of this does present a bit of confusion for everyone at the start of 2020. For example, the term 5G-NR (New Radio) is often bandied around. This isn’t the same as the previous generation of wireless, 4G. But all 5G devices in the U.S., for now, need 4G because they’ll lean on it to make initial connections before trading up to 5G where it’s available. That’s technically known as a “non standalone,” or NSA, network.
Later in 2020, carriers say the U.S. 5G networks will become “standalone,” or SA, not requiring 4G coverage to work. It’s expected that wireless urban coverage will improve with the evolution of standalone mode.
It’s important to understand that 4G is evolving as well. For example, the Qualcomm X24 modem, which is built into most 2019 Android flagship phones, supports 4G speeds up to 2Gbps. This is different from the real advantages of 5G, which will manifest in massive capacity and low latency, beyond the levels 4G technologies can achieve.
It’s also crucial to understand the idea of band frequency. 5G gives carriers more options in terms of airwaves than 4G did. The high band of millimeter waves allows for faster download speeds. This band didn’t work with 4G, but 5G can run on any frequency (low, middle and high) with varying results.
The current 4G/5G connection has led to considerable confusion – not only among consumers, but also among those in the telecom industry. AT&T, for example, has been criticized for calling its advanced 4G network “5G Evolution.” Consequently, many less-informed consumers have mistakenly believed 5G Evolution was 5G – which it isn’t.
The huge amount of unused airwaves is the main attraction of high-band, which is otherwise very difficult for carriers to work with.
Want to know about 5G and keep up on current developments? Tonex offers 5G Wireless Crash Course, a 4-day course that covers all aspects of 5G wireless vision, concepts, application, use cases, technologies and standards.
Additionally, Tonex offers 20 more cutting edge 5G Wireless courses with titles like:
For more information, questions, comments, contact us.