Is 5G Just for Phones?

5G for Phones, Robots, Computers, Drones and Cars

5G is the fifth generation in cellular wireless technology and there’s no doubt, it’s a big deal. The new 5G wireless technology uses a multi-band spectrum strategy for faster data speeds, ultra-low latency and more network availability- so more devices can connect at once without the network slowing down. 

Is 5G just for phones? Absolutely not, 5G is going to power more than just phones, it’s going to bring about new, futuristic services and applications and connect everything together. Phones are just the start for 5G, but that’s certainly not all, let’s discuss a few examples of what 5G can do outside your phone. 5G is going to change the way you get to work, shop, visit the doctor, even live at home. 

Before we dive in, let’s give some quick background, how fast are we talking? 5G can deliver peak speeds of up to 20 Gbps and as-close-to-instant latency of one millisecond. For reference, the fastest 4G has ever been able to go is 1 Gbps, and that’s going to be the standard for 5G speeds across the board. In addition, the lowest latency on 4G is 20 milliseconds. For reference, the blink of an eye is 300-400 milliseconds. While the speeds are brag-worthy, the latency is what’s most impressive.  

5G and Streaming

If you’ve ever been to a concert or a sporting event and tried to send a text, picture, or stream it, it’s nearly impossible to do it without frustration. Since 5G operates on a three-band spectrum, more specifically the unused high-band, it opens up space to allow more devices to connect with less disruption. So you’ll be able to stream, text, video chat, game- all without any issues because the network can actually handle the bandwidth demand.

5G and the Auto Industry

If you’ve ever watched a futuristic movie and thought about how cool it would be to actually have self-driving cars on the road, 5G can make that a reality. Only within the past few years were you able to purchase a car with maps, music streaming or traffic updates already integrated into it. Imagine being able to drop in an address, take your hands off the steering wheel and go. The problem with self-driving cars, is the network connection needed to make self-driving cars work safely is currently too slow. Everything needs to have a real-time connection because the autonomous cars need to be able to communicate with each other constantly. The 5G network is powerful enough to host a vehicle-to-network, vehicle-to-pedestrian and vehicle-to-vehicle unified connection without disruption, in addition the ultra-low latency provides immediate response to events that happen on the road, like a car braking suddenly, a red light, or someone switching lanes. 

5G and AR / VR

You’ve likely heard a bit about VR and AR, but it hasn’t been a seamless experience so far because of the current 4G network. With 5G’s improved speeds and low latency, you’ll have a better gaming experience with less equipment. Right now, to do either VR or AR it requires a lot of bulky equipment and setup to use. With 5G, you can stream most of what you want to do from the cloud and not have to use computers or additional devices to help with the connection. 

5G in the Medical World

5G could greatly impact the medical world in a number of ways. We’re already familiar with virtual doctor visits, or robotic surgeries done by a surgeon in the room, but what about remote surgeries that can be done across the globe? This could benefit countries like Africa where there isn’t the medical care needed to serve some of the population with greater needs. 5G would also power wearable or medical implanted devices that could provide life-saving data to doctors. “5G will open the door to important developments in personalized anywhere, anytime medicine” according to Dr. David Teece, professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Link:

5G and Auto Traffic

Traffic is a part of our daily lives, and it seems like it only gets worse every day. 5G can empower smarter traffic solutions by connecting traffic lights, signs and cars all together. For example, through the use of road sensors, traffic lights can read the amount of traffic on the road in real-time and change the lights to help with traffic flow, rather than use the timed traffic system we have now. This would not only cut down on roadway congestion but provide environmental benefits because cars would spend less time on the roads emitting exhaust into the air. 

All of the amazing things 5G is going to do have yet to be fully uncovered or implemented, it’s going to take some time and patience. It’s such a new technology and will take years to fully rollout for widespread coverage that’s strong enough to power things like autonomous cars or smart cities. 5G is going to greatly impact industries across the board, agriculture, manufacturing, business- everything will change. If you’re interested in more 5G capabilities, check out a more in-depth article on what 5G means here. (Link to What is 5G and what does it mean?) 

5G is barely here yet the possibilities are endless with this new powerful technology. It’s going to be bigger than just your phone, 5G is going to completely change the way you connect and interact with the world around you.