If you’re switched on with tech news or are just an avid user of tech then you’ll probably already be well aware of the 5G broadband
wave about to be unleashed on British shores. You may also have seen that other countries, particularly in China and the US, already have access to it to an extent, but what is it?
The G in 5G literally means generation and so 5G represents the fifth generation of mobile internet (prior to this we were limited to wired, and even worse, dial-up connections). You wouldn’t be alone in feeling like you’ve missed the boat of previous generations, or at least before 3G – the third generation was the first to boast about its capabilities as a major selling point to accompany compatible mobile devices.
2G internet is probably most recognisably remembered as GPRS which came to prominence in the 90’s and introduced the concept of texting as well as picture messaging. Prior to that, the 1st generation or 1G wireless technology used analog radio signals rather than digital, and simply enabled people to own a phone that operated, well, wirelessly and could be used anywhere within reasonable distance of a network tower.
The introduction of 3G was launched in the early 2000’s but wasn’t widely used until the first smartphones hit the market towards the end of the decade (the first iPhone debuted in 2007). This latest generation had mobile data which allowed internet access for the first time without being anchored to a domestically or commercially distributed router. This technology also increased the speed and quality of processes introduced by previous generations – it was from here that phone ownership cascaded to a point where the majority of the developed world soon owned a device with internet connectivity.
4G is still, officially speaking, the current generation of internet usage and has enabled the proliferation of social media of the last ten years, where within seconds users can download and upload content of various forms. That’s not to say that the present iteration is without its limitations – everyone can sympathise with another’s frustration at an endless buffer wheel whilst streaming video content, for example. The internet is often hampered by user density and high-volume simultaneous app interaction which can also be difficult in our increasingly digital-reliant world where workforces often depend on a reliable connection.
The evolution of 5G then is a breath of fresh air, promising download speeds of 1-10Gbps where the best 4G available can only offer 300Mbps and will lift the barrier between here and next technological age where AI and AR will become as commonplace to us as contactless card payments is currently. It is incredibly exciting, but as with all great feats of innovation there is literally a world of bureaucracy to navigate and although the UK commences its rollout this year, full connectivity is not thought to be likely until 2022.
From auctioning off sections of bandwidth to internet providers, to laying the infrastructure to support it; from ensuring rigorous environmental health testing is upheld, to designing and producing technology that will reap the full benefits of 5G – there is a lot to do! As the very necessary preparation work takes place that will offer a whole new world of internet capability, businesses such as ours are gradually implementing our own plans to ensure that Intouch Advance stay ahead of the curve and always deliver the best telecommunication solutions packages out there, and we are ready and waiting to grab a slice of the action!