What is 5G? | CNBC Explains


That is 4G – the mobile network
that’s used around the world to make calls, send messages
and surf the web. Now there are plans for 4G to
be replaced by, you guessed it, 5G – a new, faster network that has
the potential to transform the internet. 5G is a software defined network – it means
that while it won’t replace cables entirely it could replace the need for them by
largely operating on the cloud instead. This means it will have a
100x better capacity than 4G – which will dramatically
improve internet speeds. For example, to download a two-hour film
on 3G would take about 26 hours, on 4G you’d be waiting 6 minutes, and on 5G you’ll be ready to watch your
film in just over three and a half seconds. But it’s not just internet capacity
that will be upgraded. Response times will
also be much faster. The 4G network responds to our commands
in just under 50 milliseconds. With 5G it will take around one millisecond –
400 times faster than a blink of the eye. Smartphone users will enjoy a
more streamlined experience but for a world that is increasingly dependant
on the internet just to function, a reduction in time delay is critical. Self-driving cars, for example,
require a continuous stream of data. The quicker that information is delivered to autonomous
vehicles, the better and safer, they can run. For many analysts this is
just one example of how 5G could become the connective
tissue for the internet of things, an industry that’s set to grow threefold by 2025,
linking and controlling not just robots, but also medical devices, industrial
equipment and agriculture machinery. 5G will also provide a much more personalized web
experience using a technique called network slicing. It’s a way of creating separate
wireless networks on the cloud, allowing users to create
their own bespoke network. For instance, an online gamer needs faster
response times and greater data capacity than a user that just wants
to check their social media. Being able to personalize the internet
will also benefit businesses. At big events like Mobile World Congress for
example – there is a mass influx of people in one particular area using
data-heavy applications. But with 5G, organizers could pay for
an increased slice of the network, boosting its internet capacity and thus
improving its visitors’ online experience. So when can we start using 5G? Well, not yet and according to
some analysts not until 2020. 5G was created years ago and
has been talked up ever since. Yet it’s estimated that even by 2025,
the network will still lag behind both 4G and 3G in terms of
global mobile connections. Its mainstream existence
faces multiple hurdles. The most significant of
these of course is cost. According to some experts, 5G
could cause network operators to tear up their current business
models for it to make business sense. In the U.K. for example, 3G and 4G networks
were relatively cheap to set up because they were able to roll out on existing
frequencies, on the country’s radio spectrum. For 5G to work properly however, it needs
a frequency with much bigger bandwidth which would require
brand new infrastructure. Some analysts believe that the extensive
building and running costs will force operators to share the use and
management of the mobile network. This has been less of an obstacle for countries like
China, who are taking a more coherent approach. The government, operators and
local companies such as Huawei and ZTE are about to launch big 5G trials
that would put them at the forefront of equipment production
for the new technology. That may be at the expense of the West, where
there is concern regarding Asia’s 5G progress. A leaked memo from the National
Security Council to the White House called for a nationalized 5G network to keep
the U.S. ahead of their global competitors. White House officials dismissed the idea,
but some experts predict that by 2025 nearly half of all mobile connections
in the U.S. will be 5G, a greater percentage than
any other country or region. It’s still likely however that much of the West
will have a more gradual approach to 5G, driven by competition but with
a patchy style of development. For example, AT&T pledged to start rolling out
5G later this year but in just a handful of cities. For key industrial zones however, it’s predicted
the technology will be adopted quickly, while for many in rural areas
5G may be a long way off. But when 5G does establish itself
and fulfills its supposed potential, it could even change how we get
the internet at home and at work – with the wireless network replacing the
current system of phone lines and cables. It may not happen overnight,
but 5G is coming. Hi guys, thank you for watching. If you’d like to see more of our
tech videos then check out these. Otherwise comment below the video for any
future explainers you’d like us to make, and remember don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for watching!

Danny Hutson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *