With lightning fast connection speeds and low levels of latency, 5G will be the new network that changes the mobile development game. Remote surgery, self-driving cars, and virtual reality are just a few of the new forms of technology that will be enabled by 5G networks once they arrive. Yet there are still many barriers to 5G’s success. Here’s a look at the advances we can expect to see this year.
How 5G impacts development
From a technical standpoint, 5G offers plentiful benefits to developers. To begin with, the new network will offer a much faster speed than even the best 4G. In initial tests, connection speeds could be a staggering 50 times faster than current 4G networks, allowing app developers the ability to work on more complex projects than ever before. Perhaps more importantly, 5G will be more responsive and all-inclusive. When 5G networks arrive, they will be compatible with all different types of devices, from wearable tech to smart office devices. Low latency levels and super-fast speeds offer designers the chance to work with a whole new world of fully connected objects. For future applications to work on the scale that many are envisioning, latency must be brought down to under one millisecond. While this isn’t possible with 4G networks, 5G by its very nature will offer this type of feature.
New collaborations to watch
From Nokia Networks to Verizon Wireless, almost every telecom company is working on 5G innovation. To meet development goals, many major providers are teaming up with new collaborations to take place this year. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, a collaboration between Qualcomm, AT&T and Ericsson was announced. These telecom giants plan to work together this year on new over-the-air field trials as well as interoperability testing. All of these companies have a strong interest in moving current mobile infrastructure over to the new 5G network. The end goal is to enable new technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality to take off. For this collaboration, AT&T will provide the spectrum, while Qualcomm and Ericsson will provide the base stations.
The trials from this collaboration will take place in the USA in late 2017. Optus and Huawei recently teamed up for 5G trials of their own at the end of 2016, which resulted in speeds of 35 Gbps. Intel is also in on the 5G game, announcing at the CES a new 5G modem in development. Finally, Verizon, together with Nokia and others, plans to conduct trials this year at its innovation centres in San Francisco and Massachusetts.
The bottom line
For anyone working in the industry, 5G offers exciting new possibilities. Chief among them is the rise of the internet of things. App developers will also be able to work on increasingly realistic virtual reality simulations, while cloud services will be able to reach heightened levels of efficiency. In 2017, we can expect extensive trials to take place, which will push development of 5G networks closer than ever before to a reality. Yet don’t expect to be able to try it out yourself until 2020.