Wireless technology is advancing at an incredible rate and its worth looking back at what has gone before as well as having a peek at the 5G networks promised in the very near future. In tandem with these massive rates of development of mobile phone services just recently, the worldwide data usage exceeded an Exabyte a month and that is 1 billion Gigabytes. It has been estimated by industry experts that the usage by 2017 will rise to a staggering 10.8 Exabytes a month!!
In the beginning we had the 1G (first generation) networks which were 2.4 kbps basic voice services based on analogue based protocols. These were first deployed by NTT in Japan in 1979 and the AMPS system in the US in 1983. Then along came 2G which were 64kbps voice services following the digital GSM, CDMA standards. The first GSM device was launched in Finland in 1991. Then we saw the 3G services which raised the speed to 2000 kbps which were designed for not only voice communication but also included multimedia, internet and text plus 3G phones supported the first mobile broadband functionality. The first commercial 3G service was launched in Japan in 2001
Next to appear was the 4G driven by the rapid ramping up of wide bandwidth streaming media usage. Today 4G is our fastest and most efficient service. It raised the speed up to 100,000 kbps and was designed primarily for data and was based on IP-based protocols or LTE (long term evolution). 4G is the first true mobile broadband offering and the world’s first 4G systems were launched in 2009 by Sprint in the USA and LTE is Scandinavia
5G is now under development and Ofcom are planning to roll it out in the UK by 2020. In development, speeds of one terabit/sec have been achieved (University of Surrey) and this means that 5G is potentially an amazing 65000 times faster than the current 4G.
The original expectation of 5G was 10-50 Gigabits/sec so these development speeds far exceed that goal. At these speeds you could download 100 movie films in a mere three seconds.
These rates of transmission have been achieved over fibre optic cables previously but this is the first time that this speed has been achieved using wireless technology.
One benefit of 5G speeds running at this magnitude is the possibility of playing real time holographic games by smartphone users. It’s certainly exciting news ahead for the smartphone industry and its users.
Steve Blythe (Recruitment and Social Media Commentator).