5G: Advantages and Limitations

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5G: Advantages and Limitations

Tatiana A. Dias
August 10th, 2017

In 5G: An Introduction we looked at the fundamentals of 5G. What is 5G and what possibilities will this fifth generation of technology bring. In this post, we will further explore the concepts presented in the first part and discuss the advantages and the challenges of this technology. Finally, the next post will give a general overview of the big names already in the game besides presenting some broad applications of this technology.


Now, think of the fifth generation technology as the next generation of wireless connectivity that will eventually supplant 4G. 5G is expected to provide a wide range of benefits to end users paving the way for potentially unmatched new technologies. Nonetheless, we have to consider the inherent downsides too.


What are the advantages?

The data speed rate will dramatically increase with 5G! We will be able to download a full HD movie in under 10 seconds vs. a similar number of minutes over 4G. Plus, with the greater bandwidth, the response time will improve to 1 vs. 50 milliseconds with 4G. In addition, it needs to provide enough capacity for the billions of devices that the IoT will connect. The standard will enable a whole new set of applications that would simply not be possible on current networks, such as self-driving cars, VR headsets, delivery drones, and even remote surgery.




What are the challenges?

  • Infrastructures: The carriers have to upgrade their massive infrastructures, for one. After all, it is an information conduit being built! The 5G will bring with it new antennas, new devices, and new applications for wireless data.


  • Technology: There are two main technological hurdles that 5G players will need to overcome. One of them is spectrum availability. A reliable, wireless internet connection depends on the number of devices connected to one channel. Radio frequencies used for 3G and 4G are already overcrowded, so the addition of 5G will require a new wireless spectrum. And this new spectrum will need to be in high-frequency bands in order to deliver the envisaged data speeds. A smarter use of the frequencies will ensure that 5G does not run out. Therefore, to avoid any of frequencies from becoming congested the devices may need to choose dynamically between which of bandwidths they use.


  • Cost: Price is the other issue to be considered. While the newest mobile phones will probably have it integrated, other handsets could be deemed out of date. But for people to fully benefit from 5G, the price of the capable handsets and services must not be prohibitive.


Are we hurling ourselves too quickly at new technologies or is 5G something to look forward to? Read more in the next post, 5G: Who is in? What applications does it have?


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“ 5G is expected to provide a wide range of benefits to end users paving the way for potentially unmatched new technologies... ”

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