What is 5G?
You might have heard of 5G being touted as the greatest communications development of all time, but do you know what it is and how it will work?
5G is the term used to describe the next generation of mobile network technology beyond the 3G and 4G LTE mobile networks commonly used today. 5G uses a combination of new technologies that are not utilised with the 2G, 3G and 4G networks, such as beamforming antennas and millimetre waves, on high frequency bands.
This 5G 101 video is the easiest way to get your head around what millimetre waves, massive MIMO, small cells, full duplex and beam forming is really all about, as well as showing the massive amount of infrastructure that is required to make it all work.
If you need a refresher on what electromagnetic waves, frequencies, bandwidths and how they all fit together in mobile telecommunications – including 5G – then watch this excellent overview:
How does 5G differ to 3G and 4G?
The key technological differences between 5G and previous generations has been quoted as:
5G has a minimum peak download speed of 20 Gbps while 4G sits at 1 Gbps.
It can support a larger capacity for more data transfer between smart devices.
Uses shorter wavelengths which can be precisely beamed from antennas to devices.
It is able to understand the type of data being requested for download, i.e. it can tell the difference between a high definition file download and switch to a higher-powered mode.
It will be used in the Internet of Things (IoT), enabling the connections of smart devices, i.e. your fridge to your phone, driverless cars, distance surgeries etc.
Internet-enabled tech like smart traffic lights, wireless sensors, wearables, and car-to-car communication.
Greater data collection from users that can be sold to many industries for location, habitual, person-recognition purposes.
Are there privacy concerns?
The enabling of such an interconnected world, driven by data collection and sharing, comes with great risks to personal privacy and data security.
Many publications, from both 5G supporters and those against, highlight the many issues when it comes to internet privacy with the implementation of 5G. Some key concerns:
Personal information security.
Access and authentication vulnerabilities.