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All people use their cellphones on a daily basis for almost everything, and many people wish they had cable speeds on a mobile device. Cable can bring download speeds of around 1 gigabit per second. These speeds are revolutionary, and many people wish they could have them on mobile devices. Up until now, this wasn’t possible. 5G is the fifth generation of mobile cellular technology, which will replace 4G LTE with faster speeds and new spectrum.
5G is the next generation of mobile cellular technology. It uses much higher frequencies than other types of networks. In the past, 4G, 3G, 2G all use 1-5 ghz spectrum. 5G uses 24-90 ghz frequencies, and although this means much faster speeds, the range covers significantly less area. For example, we all know how much faster 5 ghz WiFi is than 2.4 ghz WiFi, but it doesn’t travel nearly as far. 5G uses millimeter wave technologies, and because the range is extremely poor, small nodes have to be placed on things such as lampposts and power lines, almost everywhere, instead of having a large cell tower that can cover a large area. Because of this, and the time and money it takes to develop this, some companies are trying to build nationwide 5G coverage using their current 4G LTE spectrum and technologies. While this is great for bringing 5G to the whole country quickly, the speeds are definitely not as fast as the millimeter wave technology. Millimeter wave technology can bring 1 gigabit a second download speeds, and up to over 2 gigabits has been seen. While this is great, the upload and ping have mostly stayed the same, which will improve later in the cycle of these 5G networks.
While the speed is fantastic, there are many concerns and side effects. Dave Johnson tells us that “Researchers [have] found that high exposure to [cell phone radiation] led to cases of cancerous heart tumors, brain tumors, and tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats.” Phones also don’t handle 5G very well yet. You have to have a new phone with new modems to take advantage of 5G, you can’t just get a software update to your existing phone. The phones get hot to the touch, and the batteries drain quickly.
Even though 5G phones don’t typically perform the greatest at this time, many companies are still working to get their 5G options out on the market. Samsung has released the Galaxy S10 5G, Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, Galaxy Fold 5G, and Galaxy A90 5G (only in Europe and Asia). LG has their V50 Thin Q 5G, and Oppo has their Reno 5G, Xiaomi has the Mi Mix 3 5G, ZTE has the Axon 10 Pro 5G, and OnePlus has their OnePlus 7 Pro 5G. Huawei has options as well, they just aren’t available in the United States, their Mate X and Mate 20 X 5G. Google and Apple don’t currently have any 5G devices, but Google is rumored to announce their Pixel 4 next month, which could very possibly have 5G support. Apple just released new iPhones this month, with no mention of 5G support at the event. Apple is rumored to release a huge upgrade with 5G next year. Apple recently acquired Intel’s modem business to compete with rival Qualcomm. Apple doesn’t want to rely on Qualcomm for 5G modems in their phones because of the legal trouble they are in with Qualcomm.
All of the four major carriers are scrambling to get 5G out and ready for the consumers to use. While this is great, some carriers aren’t using the millimeter wave technology that can bring the revolutionary cable speeds. They are attempting to build 5G on their existing 4G LTE spectrum, bringing speeds of around 300-400 megabits per second download. They are trying to rush the technology that clearly isn’t ready yet. T Mobile and Sprint are expected to merge and bring out 5G nationwide by the end of next year, and deliver the nationwide, slower 5G on their combined 4G LTE spectrum, while Verizon and AT&T are working separately on millimeter wave 5G.
5G is the future that is here now, replacing 4G LTE, and although the fifth generation mobile cellular technology is an amazing and revolutionary technology that many people are excited for, it just clearly isn’t ready for rollout just yet, it is being rushed.
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