5G Is Coming…or Is It?

Companies building 5G predict real-world speeds will be 10 to 20 times faster than 4G, between 100 and 200 Mbit/sec, enabling self-driving cars, streaming of virtual reality, the $50 smartphone, the four-hour workweek and more. Plus, 5G should have a much lower latency—from around 20 milliseconds for current networks to 1 millisecond with 5G, reported Computerworld.

It all sounds great, but when will it come to fruition? According to Computerworld, it won’t be anytime soon. To begin, they addressed the lack of 5G compatible phones on the market, with Motorola’s Moto Z3 being the only one currently available that can be converted to 5G. Other phones by Xiaomi, Oppo, Sprint and LG, and Huawei are expected to be released as early as next month, as late as summer 2019, and everywhere in between. Most or all high-end smartphones should support 5G by 2022 and the majority of smartphone users in the industrialized world should have 5G phones by 2025, reported Computerworld.   

With a 5G venue already in existence in Los Angeles, CA (The Los Angeles Convention Center), testing happening in London, T-Mobile and Sprint promising to launch in 30 and six cities, respectively, in 2019, and China and South Korea planning to roll out 5G next year as well, it would seem that 5G is almost here. However, Computerworld notes that 5G, due to its complexity, will not achieve citywide coverage quickly.

In order to have reasonable coverage, providers must build 5G antennas and towers all over the place, and very close to users. It’s time-consuming and expensive to place these devices everywhere, so the rollout will be slow and uneven. In reality, when 5G is rolled out in a city, it will be available in select pockets only. Computerworld predicts that it will be closer to 15 years before 5G replaces 4G for most users, most of the time.

Communities are protesting 5G infrastructure and 52 grassroots organizations have called upon the FCC to slow 5G infrastructure deployments until health effects can be further studied. With the number of towers and small cells needed for 5G and their proximity to users, some people are concerned over potential health risks.

According to Computerworld, 5G is a long way off. Rosy scenarios about how awesome the world of 5G will be in a few years are simply not realistic.

Comments? Email [email protected].

October 5, 2018     

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