Put simply, 5G is the next generation of mobile broadband (the ‘G’ actually stands for ‘generation’). In the making for almost 10 years, it’s being heralded as the true enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), Industry 4.0, and more.
And the revolution has already started. Countries like the United States, China, South Korea, and the United Kingdom have 5G available in some areas.
5G uses higher radio frequencies to achieve speeds up to 1,000 times faster than its predecessor, 4G. Downloading a two-hour movie would have taken 26 hours on 3G, and 6 minutes on 4G. Now it will take just 3.6 seconds on 5G.
Another big difference is the number of devices 5G can support. Current 4G networks support around 4,000 devices per square kilometer. In comparison, 5G can support up to 1 million.
But perhaps the most significant difference with 5G is to do with something known as latency – the time it takes to get a response to information sent. With its significantly lower latency times, 5G technology will help deliver mobile networks that let us do entirely new things, not just improve on what we're already doing.
Possibilities include advanced factory robots, self-driving cars and other tasks demanding a quick response – all areas where 4G networks struggle or can't manage at all.