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5G – Only a pipe dream or a possible reality?

5G – Only a pipe dream or a possible reality?
A couple of years ago, it was just exciting and convenient to have access to emails on the run. The facility didn't impel for any 3G connection. Truth be told, it didn't even ask for a basic 2G. All it needed was some network, range, and an internet pack for the watchful. Today, or rather, before the end of this decade, we will be having 5G. Yes, you are allowed to drop your jaws.

5G, the fifth-generation mobile networks/wireless systems is the next in line heir to take the throne of the world of Internet.

In the recently concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC), 2015, Barcelona, 5G was discussed on the prime podium.

In the MWC conference, when talking about the possibilities of 5G, Günther Oettinger, a European Commission member said, “The digitisation of our economy and society is accelerating. It is unstoppable. With the Internet of Things, we see a new era of connectivity where billions of devices exchange data and instill intelligence in our everyday life. From watches to shoes. From fridges to heating. From hospitals to factories. Any industry will need to adjust to this new reality. But this requires a new generation of communication networks.”

On one side, we have not yet had the possibility to see the full potential of 3G let alone 4G, and now we already have the aroma of 5G unmissable in the air.

According to the experts, 5G has the voltage to stream 8K videos in 3D (16x higher than HD), and will be able to download a full length 3D movie in about 6 seconds – that is 5.54 seconds lesser than the speed claimed by 4G.

Right now, 5G is at its conceptual stage, but it is looking at some extraordinary possibilities like:

Super Data Speeds: 5G is projected to clock 10GBs per second.

Interconnected World: With the bible of Internet of Things, 5G will be enabling a loop and sync with every piece of gadget and communications device we will ever have. We mean smart homes, wearable platforms, connected cars, etc.

Reduced Latency: The time taken to transmit one packet of data from one device to another is called latency. 5G aims to have this latency at just one millisecond whereas the current average latency for a 4G connection is about 50 milliseconds.

Ulrich Dropmann, head of industry environment networks for Nokia presented a scenario where when you are in your driverless car (and an accident has occurred further down the road and you have no inkling of it) the 5G sensors placed along the road will be able to send signals to your car, which would enable your car to apply the brakes beforehand, to avoid a plausible accident. This is where the ultra-low latency comes into perspective that would make room for the transactions to take place in blazing milliseconds.

In terms of how much it is really bound to take a toll on the consumer's wallet is something we will have to wait and watch, as it is too soon to tell. Huawei and Nokia agree that it cannot be way too much more than what users are already spending on 4G, as there is the fear of it not being adopted and accepted. However, Cisco forecasts that four years from now, with the condition that data plans not vary from the current pricing plans, the average user's smartphone bill on Internet should go up from $43 to $119 per month.

Throughout the test of time, mobile networks and service providers have always had the tendency to overpromise and underdeliver. What will it be this time? We have been disappointed with 3G. 4G has only hit puberty. It will be a long while before now to adjudicate whether 5G will actually be an accepted and widespread reality as it is glorified in its blueprint or will fail to impress once again, as all of its G-predecessors did? Only time will tell.

“I see something different than you see. I think that's where 5G is right now. It's all in the eye of the beholder,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during the keynote address at the Mobile World Congress, 2015, when he compared 5G to a Picasso painting.

Well, when it comes to something we are going to be paying for, we better see what we are made to see. We don't want illusions.


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