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What is 5G?

5G is short for ‘fifth generation mobile networks’. As the title suggests it’s the 5th instalment or ‘upgrade’ to the mobile data network.  Just like its predecessors (2G, 3G, 4G) This is used primarily to access the internet when not connected to a Wi-Fi network but also manages you calls, texts and picture messages. Most people with smart phones will be familiar with the little 4G symbol at the top of the phone.

Why do we need an upgrade?

In an ever-increasing cloud based world, were more and more data is being stored in data centres for online access, it is essential that a fit for purpose mobile data infrastructure is in place to deal with the continuing higher demands and file sizes. 

To place that in context, you will be able to download - not merely stream - a full HD movie in less than 10 seconds on a 5G network. The same task would take closer to 10 minutes on 4G. This could be a game changer as a 5G mobile network with these speeds will supersede current cabled broadband massively.  Hopefully driving a speed and price war that will only benefit the consumer.

When will it arrive?

Some countries such as South Korea, China, Japan and the US are claiming they will launch 5G networks later this year (2018) or early next. However, in the UK rollout isn’t set to begin until 2020, according to the government’s 5G strategy and statements from network operators. so we might not see widespread 5G coverage in the UK until 2022 or later. But there’s a chance some networks will be slightly ahead of the game here, as for example EE said in February 2018 that 5G was just 18 months away, meaning a live UK network could exist from late 2019.

What are we going to see more of?

  • Films and games will take advantage the higher speed and implement more virtual and augmented reality. For example, you might see satellite navigation projected onto your car windscreen, or targeted adverts projected onto windows.
  • 5G would provide a constant reliable network for autonomous cars, delivery drones and remote operated machinery
  • More homes integrating smart devices. Lighting, heating, security, rubbish collection etc
  • A more robust NHS service, providing remote health services and remote surgery, with doctors controlling medical robots from across the world

How will this affect our participants

The implementation of 5G will allow for greater and easier access to the internet. Allowing cheap, anywhere access to help with training, online banking, job searching, online purchases and remote access support meaning we can help clients quicker, more often.  We will be able to support and fund more smart devices for client’s homes as these locations will have a fast-reliable connection. In conclusion it will create a more connected, faster and rounded service.