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A 5G primer

Jane Cockerell

Given the hoo-ha in the news at the moment (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48032286) we thought a 5G primer would be timely…

In simple terms, 5G makes better use of the radio spectrum and will allow a higher number and more sophisticated technology devices to operate simultaneously; it will bring far higher faster data speeds, wider coverage and more stable connections.

Many of the tech trends we hear about; Internet of Things, smart glasses, drone emergency services, driverless cars, will be able to take a leap into our current reality as this connectivity coverage improves. Our regular work and play tools will be less glitchy, there will be less lag time on games and video calls. 5G is much better at handling thousands of devices simultaneously.

Although it's totally new radio technology, at first 5G is likely to mainly be used to boost capacity on existing 4G networks, to ensure a more consistent service for customers. 5G could achieve browsing and download speeds about 10 to 20 times faster in real-world (as opposed to laboratory) conditions. In a few years, pure 5G networks, could easily achieve gigabit-plus browsing speeds as standard.

But, commercial realties mean that this is likely to be limited to urban areas at first potentially widening the tech gap for rural areas, unless subsidised by governments.

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