With there being so much talk about 5G, it may be useful to understand what it is and what that will mean for us in the future.
Firstly, to get it out of the way, Is 5G safe? Simply, yes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as Public Health England have both conducted studies and have concluded that there is no risk to consumers using 5G.
What is 5G?
5G is simply the latest iteration of mobile communications which will be potentially up to 10 times quicker than its predecessor 4G. But the step up to 5G should be a much bigger jump than the previous one from 3G to 4G.
This is because the speed difference is not all that 5G has to offer, it also uses smaller wavelengths and higher frequencies which will ensure a much more consistent and robust service overall.
This will mean your connection and speeds shouldn’t vary whether you’re at home or in a stadium with 10,000 football fans. This consistency in connection also means the development of The Internet of Things.
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What’s the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The IoT is the continued trend of everything becoming ‘smart’. This trend is set to continue with more and more of us owning wearable tech like smart watches and connectable backpacks with GPS systems in etc.
All these devices will mean we will be constantly using interconnected devices all day every day. From having our sleep tracked by our smart watch, to be woken up by a smart speaker at the perfect moment, letting your kettle know you’re ready for a morning brew, to then be taken into work by your self-driven car, which will of course be preheated in the winter or cooled down in the summer. All these devices will need a stable and quick internet connection to reliably work together.
When can I get 5G?
The 5G roll-out across the UK has begun and the race to get the nation covered is a frantic one with all the major phone operators rushing to be able to offer the service. So, when you’ll be able to get 5G will depend on which network you are with and where you live.
You can use this coverage checker to see if your network covers where you live.
Additionally, you’ll need a compatible device - most smartphones started to make this standard in 2020.
So, when will I get 5G?
Despite the roll-out having started in 2019, it will take until the end of 2022 for most of the UK to have 5G coverage. But then further down the line, it’s not expected for 5G to take over from 4G until 2025, and at this time 2G & 3G are likely to be taken offline too.
So, will 5G replace home broadband?
The simple answer to this is probably not, in the short term that is. The same split that most of us currently have between data allowances on our phones and a separate wired home internet connection is likely to persist for a while to come.
This will allow us time to acquire 5G compatible devices and time for the industry to provide coverage throughout the nation.
But 5G home broadband is the next step up from fibre-optic connections and standard copper wired broadband. Similar to the jump we all made from dial-up modems to Wi-Fi many years ago.
We do have a lot to look forward to though, not only the speed benefits, which are substantial (downloading a HD movie in a minute), other benefits of the 5G will be a constant connection for all devices.
So, you’ll no longer need to ask your partner to stop their Netflix binge so you can jump on FaceTime or shout at your old PC when you can’t get it online.
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