The Next Big Thing
On the eve of 5GVerizon has announced it will go live with real world trials of its 5G network in the fall of 2016. Brian Cooley discusses the promise of the new wireless technology and how it will be used in the future.
[NOISE] Last time I took you for a look at 5G wireless technology was May of 2014. And back then nobody expected it in the wild until 2020. Since then the goal line got moved up quite a bit as Verizon recently announced they will be doing field trials in the U.S. by Fall of 2016 and have some degree of market availability in this country by 2017. That's even ahead of mobile ambitious South Korea in twenty eighteen and Japan in twenty twenty. Let's look at the reasons why we should once again we should take a look at five G including the fact that it's coming a lot sooner than we thought. Your first thought, I'm sure, is around speed of five G. It'll be faster than four G as it was faster than three G. Yes correct. And in fact Verizon says it could be. 30 to 50 times faster than your current 4G LTE. But, take that with a grain of salt, because in the real world we know that delivering speeds are different than actual speeds. But speed to me is actually the least interesting of 5Gs promised benefits. Here are a few I think are maybe a little more subtle but more interesting. The first is low latency. That means when you create an input or request something on your mobile over 5G it will take very little time before the other end receives that request if you will. Now, this is measured a millisecond so it doesn't sound like a big gap but it's a big part of why your phone can feel sluggish. A recent study by Open Signal and Fierce Wireless found that the average latency on the big four carriers in the US right now is between 75 and 100 milliseconds. The folks over at the 5G development teams will tell you the goal is to get latency on that network at one millisecond. That is dramatically different. Aside from just being a faster way to navigate the web, which isn't really the point, it will allow us to have applications like high performance and very responsive gaming over wireless networks. As well as professional applications, like remote telemedicine and surgery, without any goofs. Nothing that keeps cutting a half a second after the doctor stopped telling it to. And also robotic applications for industry that require absolute precision, and again, come down to low latency. Then there's lower power consumption, you don't often think of a type of wireless as using less power then others but in fact, the wireless radio inside your mobile device is one of the biggest consumers of power. This is a big deal because it appears that any major battery break through isn't going to arrive until flying cars so let's make the most of what we have now. Then there's Traffic Prioritization. This is being baked into 5G from the beginning. It's an idea that says look, if you've got a car going down the road with a 5G connection, it needs to know that signals from other cars to avoid collisions, need to get through first and that signal streaming a video to your kid in the back seat, can wait a few milliseconds. And 5G's being built from the ground up to have that kind of smart. And finally there's cutting the cord, and I mean the entire cord. Right now your home or business very likely have wireless inside them. But what's feeding that is a cable, twisted pair, fiber, or satellite connection getting to the curb as we say. But 5G wireless promises to have so much bandwidth and be so stable in delivering it, that you could actually use that to provision Internet to a premise, which we don't really think of right now as a wireless technology. That means we have a much greater flexibility of saying I need Internet here, or here, or here, without having to worry what kind of cable or wire is available. There are a lot of questions around 5G, starting with a whole variety of competing standards and development players right now. After that, we hope to get a five G that is a thing versus a bunch of things using the same name. That's what four G is really like today. There's cost. Who knows how you price something like this when it comes to market. What are tiers? What are the gotchas? And what about data caps? If you've got a pipeline this big and fast You're going to blow through a lot more data than they provisioned for you today, even on a generous plan. Finally, you're going to need a new device. No device on the market today can talk to a 5g, but we're talking a few years down the road. You'll probably have a new device by then anyway. Keep this in the back of your mind. That's it. 5g is definitely shaking up sooner than we thought, to be the biggest innovation in mobile networks since mobile data. Know what's next at CNET.com/NextBigThing. I'm Brian Cooling. [NOISE] [BLANK_AUDIO]