The new 5G network consistently makes headlines, both as a promising new technology and a source of conspiracy theories. People tend to take an all-or-nothing approach to it, either making bold claims about its ability to revolutionize tech as we know it or worrying that 5G lies behind some of today’s most concerning problems.
Luckily, NerdsToGo is here to take a close look at the facts. Keep reading to learn how 5G works and how it might impact your day-to-day life in the near future.
What Is 5G?
As the fifth generation of cellular networks, 5G represents the planned successor to 4G, which took over a decade ago. We’re overdue for an update, and 5G certainly moves mobile technology forward.
When Was 5G Launched?
The 5G timeline varies somewhat between carriers. In general, this new generation began to appear in late 2018 and early 2019. Verizon, for example, first introduced 5G in select areas, such as Chicago and Minneapolis, in April 2019. However, adoption remains in its early stages in 2020.
As carriers expand their networks and more phones are made available for 5G, this new generation can be expected to become as ubiquitous as its 4G LTE predecessor. Many people waited on the first batch of 5G phones in hopes of acquiring compatible devices after early issues were resolved.
What Are the Benefits of 5G?
Several benefits promise to make 5G a worthwhile upgrade, and speed is by far the most noteworthy advantage. However, estimates regarding the extent to which 5G improves speeds vary. In general, enthusiasts believe that greater efficiency in signal encoding and transmission will deliver significant boosts in speed.
Beyond this, 5G networks also boast greater bandwidth. This allows users to maintain strong connections to several devices at once – a clear boon given the current prominence of the Internet of Things. In an age in which our thermostats and coffee makers are just as connected to the virtual sphere as our smartphones, it’s worthwhile to invest in a system that will keep a variety of devices running smoothly.
Many 5G enthusiasts are excited about the major reductions in latency made possible by this upgrade. Specifically, experts promise that 5G will reduce latency to a mere millisecond. This is made possible, in part, by 5G’s increased bandwidth. With lower latency comes faster downloads, which, compared to the previous 4G status quo, could feel as if they’re almost instantaneous.
Which 5G Benefits Are Overstated?
While 5G will boost the speed and reduce the latency of mobile communication, it might not be quite as transformative as enthusiasts promise. For example, many proponents claim that, under a 5G system, lag will virtually disappear. Keep in mind, however, that, immediately preceding 5G, recent versions of 4G LTE Advanced Pro also boasted minimal latency. In fact, the difference between this version of 4G and the latest 5G update may not be perceivable to the average user.
As experts at Tom’s Guide point out, the ability to achieve higher speeds under 5G largely depends on the mobile carrier and even the geographic region. A report from RootMetrics suggests that median speeds for AT&T’s 5G network were sometimes slower than those for 4G LTE as of early 2020. While this report highlighted a few cities in which 5G outperformed 4G LTE with AT&T, the difference was often negligible. Meanwhile, those with Verizon plans experienced significant improvements in speed upon taking advantage of 5G.
Another potential downside? Depending on the carrier, coverage can be spotty. This is likely to change, however, as providers continue to expand 5G networks.
If you live in an area with less-than-desirable coverage, you may want to think twice before investing in 5G just yet, as it can come with a steep price hike. AT&T, for example, only provides 5G with its premium – and most expensive – plans.
Ultimately, the greatest benefit of 5G may lie not in its current performance, but in its potential to go further than previous generations. While not all providers are currently able to live up to the hype, enthusiasts still look forward to a future in which 5G allows for almost instantaneous downloads. Until then, it’s worthwhile to choose providers carefully and invest in recommended network upgrades to ensure the best service possible.
NerdsToGo League City: Your Key to a Strong Connection With or Without 5G
As you join the 5G revolution, don’t forget to take the many other steps necessary to optimize your network and devices. At NerdsToGo, we’re happy to assist you every step of the way. We can offer tailored recommendations to ensure that your network is both speedy and secure. Additionally, if you run into any problems, we’re on hand to provide troubleshooting or repairs.
Don’t hesitate to take advantage of our remote support services. We also provide options to get you set up for working or studying from home. Feel free to contact us to learn more about our range of tech solutions!