The WIRED Guide to 5G
The WIRED Guide to 5G
Wired.com, December 13, 2018
By Klint Finley
To keep up with the explosion of new connected gadgets and vehicles, not to mention the deluge of streaming video, the mobile industry is working on something called 5G—so named because it's the fifth generation of wireless networking technology.
The promise is that 5G will bring speeds of around 10 gigabits per second to your phone. That's more than 600 times faster than the typical 4G speeds on today’s mobile phones, and 10 times faster than Google Fiber's standard home broadband service—fast enough to download a 4K high-definition movie in 25 seconds, or to stream several at the same time.
Eventually anyway. US carriers promise that 5G will be available nationwide by 2020, but the first 5G networks won't be nearly so fast. 5G isn't a single technology or standard, but rather a constellation of different technologies, and deploying them could require a radically different approach than building 4G networks. Carriers have launched demos and pilot programs that demonstrate big leaps in wireless performance, but mobile networks based on the “millimeter wave” technology that may deliver the fastest speeds probably won't be widely available for years.
GLOSSARY from Wired.com
All radio wave frequencies, from the lowest frequencies (3 kHz) to the highest (300 GHz). The FCC regulates who can use which ranges, or bands, of frequencies to prevent users from interfering with each other’s signals.
Bands below 1 GHz traditionally used by broadcast radio and television as well as mobile networks; they easily cover large distances and travel through walls, but those are now so crowded that carriers are turning to the higher range of the spectrum.
The range of the wireless spectrum from 1 GHz to 6 GHz, used by Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, mobile networks, and many other applications. It's attractive to carriers because it offers lots of bandwidth while presenting fewer challenges than the millimeter wave range of the spectrum. The catch is that the FCC needs to open more of this spectrum to carriers.
The range of the wireless spectrum above either 24 GHz or 30 GHz, depending on whom you ask. There’s plenty of bandwidth on this relatively uncrowded chunk of the spectrum, which means carriers can achieve much faster speeds. But millimeter wave signals are less reliable at long distances.
Spectrum not licensed to a particular carrier, such as the ranges now used for home Wi-Fi. Carriers plan to augment their licensed spectrum with service delivered over unlicensed bands.
How long it takes a device to respond to other devices over a network. Faster response time is a big promise of 5G, which could be critical for things like emergency alert systems or self-driving cars.
The practice of creating "virtual networks" on one carrier’s infrastructure, each with different properties. For example, cars may connect to a virtual network that makes minimizing latency a priority, while smartphones may connect to a network optimized for streaming video.
The ability to assign smaller amounts of bandwidth to devices that don't need much, such as sensors. It's not related to the idea that numbers possess mystical meanings, but it can sound similarly arcane.
Learn More from Wired.com
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