The buzzword, 5G has been thrown around all too often. You see billboards alongside highways that show the latest smart phones by top manufacturers boasting of the 5G. Most of the new line-up of smart phones are ready for the upcoming 5G revolution. Like everything else with life, the new replaces the old; the outdated replaced by the updated. Landlines went out of the door and in came smart phones. Bulky CRT monitors in the trash and in came sleek paper-thin OLED 4K monitors. The new generation supersedes the old. Does this mean that 4G is well on its way out? Let’s find out…
5G is expected to be the game-changer when it comes to telecommunication that is supposed to be 21st century ready. It boasts of dramatically higher speeds and a much wider coverage area. It can run more than 100 times faster than your comparatively sluggish 4G cellular tech. It is miles faster than most of the optic cable transmission and the latency, which is the number of times your phone ‘pings’ the network, is faster than any Wi-Fi available in the market. So with all of this set in place and the numbers being as solid as can be, one can’t help but ask if their 4G LTE phone is destined for the dumps. Surprisingly, the answer is NO.
The Shortcoming Of 5G
5G has many limitations to its name. One of the first few to put to practice the titular telecommunication technology was cellular giants like Verizon and AT&T, and they made use of what is called a millimeter-wave. These provide extremely high speed data transmission, but the glaring shortcoming is that the signals can be transmitted only over an extremely short distance. Cellular carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile in Europe and Asia have opted for the much slower, lower frequency airwaves. These speeds of the lower frequency airwaves are no big jump from the now common LTE connections. Making a shift would not be economically feasible and pointless.
5G And 4G Will Together Share The Stage
The shift from 4G to 5G is not going to be as easy as flicking a switch. This is similar to the comparison that we drew from the shift from 3G to 4G. It is expected that in the next 5 years, i.e. 2025, only 15% of the mobile connections in the entire world would be 5G enabled. Many believe that rather than overtaking and leaving 4G LTE in the dark, 5G will become a bigger part of the market that will complement rather than replace 4G LTE services.
The 5G connections in most parts of the world are not standalone. They still need the older tech of 4G as an anchor. A sudden complete overhaul would require the need for new hardware and for this same reason 4G core networks still act as the foundation of the now supposed 5G networks.
The next jump for 5G telecommunication technology would be ‘standalone’ 5G, but this would not be rolled out globally for a good decade. Most of the 5G networks use 4G for uploads and mainly use 5G networks for downloads. This made it simpler for network providers to develop their tech. Take a note of this the next time you are in a 5G enabled environment-the download speeds will be fast, but the upload speeds will be no different from existing 4G.
The Reign Of 4G Will Continue
This is going to be the case at least for a few years, if not the next decade. Until that upgrade comes into place, 4G is more than sufficient for the use of most devices, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It is ironic that most of the smart home devices don’t even make use of 4G connections as most still make use of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for the majority of the time. The reason for this is that the data usage and transmission are low, and the need for a super-fast network is pointless. Smart home devices are also required to run for extended times and not stay connected to the nearest wall socket- and 5G power consumption at this point is beyond the charts.
5G if at all partially, will only find a need in higher-end smart phones and cellular devices. It would take long for them to make way to lower-end devices and for most of them, 4G will do more than enough.
The 5G wave is very much here, but it is too far from the shore to make an impact. Most of the present needs are being met by 4G and even 3G networks, although the latter will go out of commission by the end of this decade. Life will go as usual with your 4G LTE phone, so don’t be in the hurry to buy a 5G enabled phone the next time a sale in on; 4G is here to stay.
If you want to get the best out of your 4G LTE connection, get yourself a signal booster or a range extender. That would suffice until the 5G revolution reaches you.