As summer comes on, we’re getting a lot more information about what new 5G systems are going to look like when they’re fully implemented across America.
A report today by Roger Cheng at CNET goes over some of the biggest pros and cons of this brand-new network, showing how it’s really going to be a different animal from its precursors 3G and 4G.
For those who understand why speeds of data transmission matter, there’s one metric that shows at a glance the power of the new 5G capability:
1 GB per second!
Anyone who had used the file-sharing technologies of the 90s (or other tools) to upload or download files a megabyte at a time will be astounded by the idea of clicking a button and getting a gigabyte of information in one second. (“In optimal conditions, you’ll be able to download a season’s worth of Stranger Things in seconds,” Cheng writes. It’s a great show, but one hopes that some users have even loftier aspirations.)
That’s part of what is getting people so excited about 5G. There’s also the same extreme low latency in videoconferencing and other technologies that promises to bring us to the next level of digital automation.
However, many people are concerned about the health risks from the wider spectrum of frequencies and waves that are to be used in 5G transmission. Cheng specifies that carriers are going to have to purchase additional spectrum from the government, and the electromagnetic science of this is troubling to some health advocates. There’s also a history of spotty rollouts, where, as with the hair club for men, “results differ” in connecting consumers to 5G technologies.
“Last summer, CNET held a massive speed test of 5G networks around the world, spanning everywhere from Chicago to London to Sydney to Seoul,” Cheng writes. “The results were a mix of ludicrous speeds, but limited range and spotty coverage. Conversely, you would see wider coverage with a modest bump in speed. You also saw devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G roll out. The early generation of 5G phones boasted impressive speeds at time, but we cautioned against buying them because of compatibility issues and other problems that arise with new technology.”
In terms of cost, 5G may set us back from the practice of offering affordable unlimited data plans. However, in the end, there’s a lot to be excited about in terms of 5G capabilities. Stay engaged and factor 5G into your telecom plays.