2020 Vision: Vodafone Prepares for 5G
It was back in 2016 that we first blogged about the anticipated arrival of 5G, due to be with us in 2020. At the time, it seemed a long way off, but now, with only 2 years to go until the next generation of mobile data becomes reality, we can start getting excited.
A good time then to remind ourselves of what 5G is, why we need it, and how it’s going to change mobile technology.
What is 5G?
5G is the newest global mobile networking standard. The abbreviation stands for fifth generation mobile networks (or fifth generation wireless system s).
A brief history of wireless mobile technology
- 1G (1980’s)We say hello to the first generation of wireless mobile technology – analogue and voice-only.
- 2G (1990’s)2G is a digital network, and phones are transformed. Basic data services like SMS, picture messages and MMS are introduced.
- 3G (1998)With 3G, we’re able to use the internet on the move and make video calls.
- 4G (2008)This is where we are right now. 4G delivers high-speeds to support functions including HD mobile TV, gaming services and video conferencing.
- 5G (2020)When it arrives in less than two years, 5G will be the newest iteration of global mobile networking standards.
Why do we need 5G?
A lot has changed since 4G was introduced back in 2008. Today, our mobile devices are loaded with data-devouring apps that help us with all aspects of our work and personal lives, and, as a result, mobile data usage is increasing by 50% each year. And as new technologies like augmented reality, connected vehicles and the Internet of Things (IoT) (link to blog 77 The Internet of Things is Here: Don’t Miss Your Connection!) start to gain real-world traction; the need for fast, reliable mobile data is critical.
Manufacturers are already building IoT connectivity into everyday objects, enabling then to communicate and exchange data with each other via the internet, and it’s estimated that by 2020, 20.4 billion things worldwide will be connected!
How will 5G change your life?
- FasterWhen it arrives, 5G will be superfast, delivering speeds of between 10Mbps and 100Mbps to take your smartphone experience to a whole new level. But the real benefits of 5G will come from the wide range of applications it has for new technologies, in particular those depending on instant response times. Because 5G will reduce latency (or lag), it will bring technology like self-driving vehicles even closer to reality.
- Greater bandwidth5G will deliver increased bandwidth, enabling it to cope with multiple users, devices and applications simultaneously.
- Demand-adaptive5G will be able to optimize network resources, monitoring usage and adapting to demand.
How is Vodafone preparing for 5G?
As with previous generations, 5G will be introduced gradually, working alongside other standards. This ‘soft launch’ approach will enable Vodafone to be able to test new services ahead of rolling them out, and to explore innovative uses for 5G. Vodafone have already been testing 5G systems that help vehicles communicate with each other, and has partnered with Ericsson to demonstrate 5G working independently from existing 4G technologies.
Although 5G isn’t due to roll out until 2020, Vodafone customers won’t have to wait until then to benefit from network enhancements. 5G uses MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) technology to send and receive data more efficiently and boost capacity, and Vodafone has already deployed MIMO across its network.
What will you need to do to get 5G connected?
You’ll need a 5G capable device to be able to connect to the new 5G super-highway and enjoy download speeds 400 times faster than those delivered by 4G.
Manufacturers are expected to start making handsets 5G compatible in the very near future. At the recent Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm, maker of the Snapdragon chip sets that enable most of the flagship Android smartphones, demonstrated its X50 chip in a modem capable of downloading at a speed of 4.51 gigabits per second.
DRC Can Help Your Business Get More from Communications Technology!
Are you looking for a total solution to your voice and data communication requirements? Get in touch with DRC today and we’ll use our knowledge and expertise as a Vodafone Total Communications partner to get your business confidently connected!