There are now several million more mobile phones in the world than there are people. Connections are everywhere, from the penthouses of New York City to the shanty towns of South Africa. All these phones are (or have been) connected to a mobile network. This used to mean that we could call and text each other, but nowadays, it also means that we can connect to the internet via E, GPRS, 3G or 4G from almost anywhere on land.
But the future is coming. Forget the newest iPhone, the sharpest camera, or the quickest laptop. All will be dwarfed in comparison to the coming 5G network.
Expected around 2020, this new connection will mean you can download an HD film in the time it takes you to tie your shoe laces. Quite remarkable I think. And it all begins by revamping the base stations.
MIMO stands for multiple-input multiple-output and is already in place in some 4G base stations. It just means that there are some antennas that receive and some antennas that transmit. 5G will involve a move to large scale MIMO, where there will be many times more antennas to work with the data. Dr. Hossein Eslambolchi thinks this will boost the capacity of mobile networks by at least 22 times!
Obviously, it’s not quite as simple as sticking in a few more antennas. As you do so, problems with interference and cost arise, but luckily there are some very bright people around the world who are breaking their backs to solve these problems, just so you’re your Instagram will load 0.9 seconds faster.
So what are the implications of 5G?
Well everything that you see in tech news nowadays will rely on this powerful data connection to function in our everyday lives. Look at the Internet of Things for example; when everything becomes linked up, we’ll run into problems if we have to keep waiting for things to load. Virtual reality gaming is another example. If we want a fully immersive multiplayer experience, we are going to need some serious data speeds to make it playable.
I for one am very excited by new technology such as this 5G data network. Whilst the continued connection of everything/everyone to all other things has its drawbacks, I love seeing the world changing as fast as it is.
Are you looking forward to 5G?