Remember back when 4G LTE came out and we were all amazed by the super-fast Internet speeds we could get on our phones? Well just wait until you get a look at what you’re going to get with 5G connectivity. AT&T on Friday unveiled its 5G network roadmap for 2016 and if all goes according to plan, the carrier could launch services on a limited basis starting this year.
5G is the next generation of wireless data technology that will deliver speeds 100 times faster than today’s 4G LTE services by using technologies such as millimeter waves, network function virtualization (NFV), and software-defined networking (SDN). Tests will begin in AT&T labs in the second quarter this year while outdoor tests of 5G will take place over the summer.
“Customers will see speeds measured in gigabits per second, not megabits,” AT&T crows. “For reference, at one gigabit per second, you can download a TV show in less than 3 seconds. Customers will also see much lower latency with 5G. Latency, for example, is how long it takes after you press play on a video app for the video to start streaming on your device. We expect 5G latency in the range of 1 to 5 milliseconds.”
Of course, having a 1Gbps connection won’t be of much use if you’re only allowed to use 5GB per month before getting nailed with overage fees. It’s probably safe to assume 5G networks will have significantly higher data caps than what they have now but this is definitely something to keep an eye on when services roll out.
AT&T tells us that “an early use of 5G’s underlying technology could be delivering broadband to homes and businesses” while explaining that “it’s possible that we could have limited commercial availability this year depending on the trials.”