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CES 2018 Is Where You’ll Start Caring About 5G

Excerpted From CNet

At this year’s CES you’ll hear plenty of talk about driverless cars, connected homes and the internet of things. (Yes, we promise IoT, perhaps the buzziest of tech trends, is more than just hackable baby monitors and $400 internet-connected juicers.)

Here’s the technology that will drive all of those innovations over the next decade: 5G.

The shorthand tag “5G” stands for fifth-generation wireless technology. Those broadbandlike wireless speeds you’re getting on your phone now? That’s 4G technology. So just think about what happens next.

If you’re excited about the prospects, you aren’t alone. Tech observers see 5G as the foundation for a host of other trends. At last year’s CES, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf described 5G as the biggest thing since the introduction of electricity.

Remember, a lot of work needs to be done for 5G to achieve broad scale. But with networks set to go live by 2019 and coverage reaching 20 percent of the population by 2023, now’s the time to start caring about it.

The lowdown on 5G

The brave new world of 5G isn’t just about speed. Sure, you can look forward to ridiculously high download speeds and bufferless 4K streaming. The real advantages, however, come down to three other things:

  1. Reliability: 5G doesn’t just deliver peak speeds in ideal conditions. The technology offers superhigh speeds that are reliable and consistent, even indoors or in congested areas.
  2. Bandwidth: 5G can support a massive increase in connected devices. Ericsson forecasts 1 billion 5G subscriptions by 2023. Think sensors on everything.
  3. Latency: Phones today have an annoying lag between when you send a request for a website or video and when the network responds. With 5G, that’ll be reduced to 1 millisecond. That’s 400 times faster than the blink of an eye. It’s so fast, some companies see it opening up the possibility of remote surgery.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is devoting his preshow keynote presentation to the data-driven future that 5G enables. Nokia and Ericsson will be on stage touting the new network technology. Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, has already been hitting the media circuit to talk up the tech.

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