There’s been a lot of talk of 5G in recent years, with it making many promises to improve our lives. The list of promises has included a more interconnected Internet of Things, improvements in education, better gaming, and a revolution in the sphere of medicine.
Up until now though, this has been mostly theoretical, at least to the general public as 5G devices have not been available for the public. Amongst the average mobile users, the level of anticipation and excitement for 5G has been much lower than what came with 4G before it.
This is partly due to the fact that for the average user, 4G continues to be more than sufficient.
What’s the Difference Between 4G and 5G?
Like how 4G was a step up from 3G, 5G brings with it several major improvements. The first of these advances is in speed. 5G promises to be as much as 100 times faster than what can be achieved with 4G.
In lab conditions, 5G has been used to reach download speeds of up to 100 GB/s, while an average user is unlikely to get more than 50 MB/s from their 4G phone.
This speed boost is achieved using something called Massive Multiple-input Multiple-output (MIMO). This is the process of using multiple frequencies at the same time to create several simultaneous connections between the device and the mast. In effect, creating a multi-lane highway for data instead of a single-track road.
These speeds would make it feasible to reliably stream 4K video to a mobile device. At the moment, 4G doesn’t have the bandwidth, but 5G would have more than enough. Streaming video games, like Google’s Stadia, could also be more feasible over mobile networks this way.
In most regions, 5G will use the same part of the radio spectrum, meaning that it will continue to operate at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, however, the way it communicates over these frequencies is different.
The biggest difference between 4G and 5G is its lower latency. This is what makes manufacturers and enthusiasts excited, as a lower latency will open up many new possibilities.
What’s the Big Deal About Low Latency?
Anywho who enjoys online gaming has likely heard of the term “latency”. It is the measurement of time that elapses between a data instruction and the data being received.
It is usually measured in milliseconds (MS) and is what you’re testing when you conduct a “ping” test.
Latency is important in gaming as if it is too high, the game can lag and the player’s character or car can behave erratically to other players. It is not so important for games like those at online casino www.casino.com/nz, but it is vital in first-person shooters and racing simulators.
In a 4G network, a user can expect a latency of 50 ms, while 5G promises a low latency of just 1 ms.
Aside from being able to play Fortnite and Call of Duty with no lag, 5G also could deliver benefits in other areas.
A promising area is in medicine. Surgery can be a very high-risk process, and transporting ill patients to be treated by top surgeons can be even riskier. 5G could allow these surgeries to be conducted remotely, with robot arms controlled by the surgeon in another hospital somewhere else in the country, or even the world.
It is already being trialed at King’s College London, who in collaboration with Ericsson and NeuroDigital Technologies, is developing a remote VR surgery device that uses haptic feedback. This will give the surgeon the same physical sensations when they touch an organ as they do when they conduct surgery in person.