The promise and peril of new 5G networks (The 3:59, Ep. 579)
Welcome to the 3:59.
I'm Ben Fox Rubin.>>I'm Roger Cheng.>>CNet has tested 5G networks all over the globe, spanning seven different networks in 11 different cities, from Los Angeles to Seoul.
If you want to read more about what we did, check out Jessica Dulcourt's story where she wrote 5G age is no longer approaching it has dawned.
Okay, so 5G has dawned, Roger.
What do we find out?
What do we know about 5G now?
It's a rough start.
There are definitely some growing pains with 5G, It is here and in some cases, it is remarkably fast, in other cases, it's non existent.
And it's, generally true.
We did see a kind of wide disparity in terms of the sheer speed we were getting.
Crosses different cities and different carriers and it will kinda explain why.
But I think the bottom line ultimately was that really regardless of the carrier regardless of the city, the coverage was generally so kind of shaky, right?
I would say maybe the exception Where some parts of Australia and some parts of Korea.
One of the obvious benefits, one of the obvious positives here that I noticed from this test is that even the slower speeds,
Which are between 400 and 500 megabits per second.
Still I think Jessica mentioned this in the story.
It's still two to four times faster than your current 4G network.
You know, I mean, that was, I think that was.
So, which is a two for times, that was basically based on the test of the early, the earliest Verizon 5G.
Which is actually the slower than what they actually gone.
400 medium, looking at really more like ten times faster than LTE connecting, right?
You're getting Optimistically you're getting 40, 50 Megs per second megabits per second on an LTE network.
Oftentimes you might be getting a slower connection of 10, 15 a minute.
So when you're looking at 400 as a minimum that's pretty impressive and then take it to the extreme want to AT&T is Warner Brothers Studio.
AT&T Network is not available for consumers but they did have sort of this closed off network for its employees at Warner Brothers.
It was getting 1.8 gigs.
Which is crazy.
That's what we're saying.
Okay, so 400 is already really impressive.
We're seeing several multiples higher than that.
And 1.8 gigs, keep in mind for a frame of reference, Google Fiber is one gig per second of speed.
Right, and that's a wired connection.
That is your fastest landline connection possible right now.
They're smoking it right now.>> Okay let's talk about the negatives then because I'm feeling this hype train yeah getting going.
So what's bad about this?>>So as we saw with Verizon and at&t particular they had superfast speeds but the range is really short like you go to another block and also the coverage is gone.
You're back to 4g.
We saw with Sprint in London, in North Korea.
The coverage was a little bit wider, that's why the speeds were lower, right?
So the there's kind of a trade-off between speed and coverage.
But even with those other networks around the world There were still some outages like there were still a black spots or dead spots here we just couldn't get covered.
So, again, it's all about it is early days and transition to 5g is definitely going to take a little while.>> Yeah.
Next up, I got a chance to interview for Amazon execs from across the company's businesses to see how the e commerce giant uses AI automation and robotics To create new concepts like it's Amazon Go cashierless store.
This work is happening by the way at a time when there is significant concern that AI and automation will wipe away billions of jobs.
Roger, what do you make of that balance between you know hey check out all this shiny new stuff versus Everybody that's a trucker is gonna lose their job.
Yeah, I think that that is a legitimate concern.
I know like you've talked to Amazon, they kind of dismissed it a bit or said that new jobs that it created but I think there are Anytime you get a big innovation and how things are made or how services are delivered, there's a lot of fear about how that displaces jobs.
It's gone on to basically since the beginning of time, right?
But I think the Rate of innovation that's going on right now is unprecedented.
I think that has a lot of people freaked out.
And they they definitely spoke a lot about that as it related to Amazon ghost stories because those are stores that don't have cashiers in them and they're getting a lot of flack for them and from my conversations with them, they were like, Look We do not see a situation where we're not gonna have any humans in the stores.
I mean, people still need to stock the shelves, they still need to answer customers' questions, so I don't think we're gonna end up in a situation where you're just not gonna have people in those stores, yeah.
You got a lot of this information from the Amazon reMARS Conference or their techie conference.
What's the most interesting or the weirdest thing you learned from your talks with those executives?
So, one of the coolest things was the warehouse robots.
So they're developing these warehouse robots that
Basically have computer vision.
They have eyeballs where they're going to be able to get out of these cages.
Right now the robots are stuck in cages.
They're gonna be getting out of the cages and be able to roam around the factories.
roam around the warehouses a lot more than they used to.
Are they like little R2D2s rolling around?>>They're like orange Roombas and they'll be able to do more stuff and be able to interact more directly with people, so it is kind of like having R2D2 or C3PO or a very early version of that.>>Right.
Hanging out with you.
Filling out orders.
So, I thought it was kinda cool.
Yeah, anyway if you wanna read more about these stories, check them out on CNET.
I'm Ben Fox Rubin.
I'm Roger Cheng.
Thanks for listening.