We may be finally entering into the age of 5G wireless technology. Okay, maybe not. But recent developments suggest that we are going to get there eventually. AT&T, the second biggest wireless carrier in America, has revealed that it is planning to to begin development work on its 5G wireless service in the second quarter of this year, and it is doing so with the help of big name partners such as Intel and Ericsson. Before the end of this year, the wireless carrier should be able to start field trials for its 5G technology in the city of Austin in the state of Texas.
For those not familiar with 5G, it is a contraction of fifth generation wireless technology, and basically promises even more speedy Internet connections to the 4G wireless tech existing today and offered by various wireless carriers around the world. On top of ultra speedy web connections, 5G is also said to be capable of finally ushering in the concept of the Internet of Things in which everyday objects such as automobiles, home appliances, and other types of gadgets are connected to each other.
Although a lot of people are getting excited with the idea of a live 5G wireless tech, industry watchers actually expect the technology not to be available for public consumption until the end of this decade. Still, the fact that industry leaders such as Verizon Wireless (who claims to start testing its 5G network this year) and AT&T are already working on prototypes should build up some hype.
We can only imagine right now what exactly a 5G network can do. In broad strokes, some industry watchers and bloggers are already painting a world in which such things as virtual reality headsets, self driving automobiles, and smart metropolises are commonplace. We measure smartphone connection speed right now in terms of megabits per second (mbps). But with the onset of 5G, that term may become obsolete, for many of us will be clocking our mobile devices in terms of gigabits per second (gbps). Lastly, one other objective of 5G is to bring about more energy efficiency in the proceedings, which translates to more time being connected without having to recharge.
Whatever 5G may ultimately bring to the masses, AT&T wants to make it a reality (despite some reservations). The wireless carrier is even planning to offer a home web service that makes full use of 5G technology before the end of this year, although such service will only be made available to a limited number of AT&T’s subscribers.
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