It’s time to put this year’s Mobile World Congress behind us, and what a show it has been. We had some major announcements on the day preceding the actual show from the most important players in the business, and we’ve seen some amazing products from a wide variety of companies. Not to be overlooked after all the smartphone announcements, there were also three important announcements that you may not have noticed but that will nevertheless play a big role in the future of mobile technology.
If you thought the leap from 3G to 4G LTE was a nice bump, just wait until 5G rolls out in just a few years. When that happens, imagine a mobile world where you can download data at a blistering 20 gigabits per second, fast enough to download HD movies in a span of seconds.
With 5G networks not slated to roll out until 2020, we still have a ways to go before we can enjoy futuristic transfer speeds on our mobile devices. Nonetheless, Verizon is already trying to stake its claim as the 5G mobile king, recently proclaiming that they’re going to be the first U.S.-based carrier to support the standard.
For wireless subscribers in many areas of the United States, it’s difficult to remember what life was like before 4G LTE service blanketed the country. We’ll remind you: slow. 4G LTE download speeds can reach up to 20Mbps or even higher on some networks, but that’s nothing compared to what’s in store once 5G wireless networks begin rolling out in the years to come.
Just how fast can we expect these next-generation wireless networks to be? The International Telecommunication Union has stated that peak 5G data speeds should reach up to a blistering 20Gbps. To put that into perspective, the fastest widely available home broadband services in the country right now clock in at about 1Gbps, and they use land-based fiber optic networks.
It’s still early days but believe it or not, early tests are quite promising. In fact, the first large-scale field trial that utilized a sub-6GHz band for data yielded some impressive results when it was conducted in Japan earlier this week. More →
The future of wireless networks is coming even sooner than we expected. In a recent interview with CNET, Roger Gurnani, chief information and technology architect for Verizon, said that the wireless company plans to begin field tests for its 5G technology within the next 12 months, and “some level of commercial deployment” will begin by 2017. More →
Though many people are still getting accustomed to 4G LTE speeds, it’s never to early to start dreaming of an even faster mobile future. That’s right folks, we’re talking about 5G network speeds.
Though not slated to roll out until 2020 or so, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) just recently disclosed what type of speed will constitute 5G. Suffice it to say, the mobile experience of today may soon feel like an old 56k dial-up modem in just a few years.
South Korea plans to further upgrade its cellular data speeds in the coming years, and has announced that it will invest 1.6 trillion won (or $1.5 billion) in a 5G wireless network that will be 1,000 times faster than current 4G technology and will let users download full length movies in under a second, Agence France Presse reports. More →
Wireless carriers are still in the process of transitioning from 3G to 4G (and from fake 4G to 4G), but chatter surrounding the eventual transition to 5G is already starting to pop up. Wonderful. Before we get ahead of ourselves and before carriers start arguing over what 5G is and is not, CommScope recently put together a nice infographic that’s worth checking out to put the history of cellular communications in perspective. Titled “The evolution of the G,” the infographic details the history of cellular networks starting with 1G in Japan in 1979 and wrapping up with today’s modern 4G wireless networks — which, as an aside, weren’t really “4G” networks until the ITU gave up and let anyone call just about anything “4G.” CommScope’s infographic follows below. More →
References to a fourth-generation Time Capsule and a fifth-generation AirPort Extreme have been found within Apple’s latest AirPort Utility software update. Dwindling inventory and several reports over the past few weeks have suggested that Apple is preparing to refresh the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule lines, and this new software update all but confirms the rumors. Also notable, references to software update caching have been found within the AirPort Utility update. This new feature will allow the devices to automatically download OS X and iOS software updates and store them locally until the user applies them. This background downloading feature will drastically reduce the perceived amount of time it takes to update Apple software. Apple’s new Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme models are expected to become available shortly. More →
T-Mobile is sticking with HSPA+ for the long haul, Bloomberg reports — or at least for another few years. While major competitors build out LTE and WiMAX 4G networks, T-Mobile will continue to focus on its HSPA+ 4G network. T-Mobile has already stated that it intends to double the theoretical limit on the download side of its HSPA+ network from 21Mbps to 42Mbps in 2011. That speed increase and possible subsequent improvements to the carrier’s HSPA+ gear will have to suffice for “a few years” according to T-Mobile executives. But no matter, T-Moblers — everything is 4G now! LTE Advanced, LTE, WiMAX, 14.4Mbps HSPA+ , 21 Mbps HSPA+, 42Mbps HSPA+, GPRS… It’s all good! In all seriousness though, T-Mobile’s data network does not yet have to deal with the congestion seen on other networks, so high-speed HSPA+ is more than sufficient for the carrier at the moment. Other more congested networks have a more urgent need to deploy LTE and WiMAX, which can accommodate a greater number of simultaneous data connections with less of an impact on performance. More →