What is 5G?
To break this right down to its simplest form, 5G is the fifth generation of mobile phone technology. It comes after 2G, 3G and 4G, and each brought huge increases in mobile internet download speeds. You may remember starting out with a 2G phone, which could access the basic WAP internet but not much more.
Next came 3G in the early noughties, which made the real internet accessible on mobile phones and via USB dongles for the very first time. Video calling was possible too, but the speeds were still moderate.
Then came 4G a decade later, bringing with it mobile internet which was as fast – or often even faster – than home broadband. It meant HD movie streaming was possible without Wi-Fi, and files downloaded in seconds.
Initially, the jump to 5G will have a similar impact. Mobile download speeds will reach huge new heights, with files downloading in the blink of an eye and multiplayer mobile gaming feeling as buttery-smooth as it does on a console at home.
5G will also be hugely beneficial to rural areas, which have until now suffered from slow wired internet connections that are too expensive to upgrade. With 5G, instead of waiting for a pricey fibre line to be installed in the local village, rural communities will be able to connect to the mobile internet and enjoy download speeds well above what’s available in almost any home today.
How fast is 5G?
Networks are currently testing 5G hardware in their labs, and will begin to build small test networks in cities soon. This makes it tricky to predict, for example, how fast 5G will be for consumers, as there are still plenty of unknowns to iron out
Put simply, 5G is going to be significantly faster, and offer a jump in performance far greater than the shift from 3G to 4G. And one of the reasons for this is the change in latency