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How will 5G change the way we use broadband at home?

How will 5G change the way we use broadband at home?

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Last updated: 21 May 2021

Staying connected on the move is becoming more and more integral to day to day life. The latest innovations in mobile data technology, 3G and 4G, revolutionised the way we accessed the internet while out and about.

The next step is 5G, but what does it mean? We have put together a quick guide to keep you informed.

What is 5G?

5G is essentially the next generation of mobile data technology, boasting super high download speeds, designed to keep up not only with the increasing number of online devices, but the increasingly bandwidth heavy demands of these devices. So 5G will be building on the technology of its predecessor 4G but greatly increasing upload and download speeds allowing for the growing number of data hungry apps we are using.

How does 5G work?

5G will for the most part be operating in a similar way to 4G with signals carrying data being transmitted from one device to another via a global network of transmitters and receivers. As 5G isn’t here yet it is difficult to say what technical specifications will differentiate it from 4G, typically however when a new type of mobile data is brought out it operates on a different frequency band. 4G uses the frequency bands up to 20 MHZ and 5G will most likely utilise bands up to 6GHZ. New technologies operate on higher frequencies as they are not in use and therefore can transfer data much quicker.

How much faster will 5G be?

5G will be noticeably faster than previous mobile data technologies, current 4G allows for a maximum of 1GB per second which means that you could download a HD movie in about one hour - speeds comparable to some of the best broadband deals around. In comparison 5G will be increasing the speed to around 10GB which will mean you will be able to download the same movie in around 10 seconds. The reason that it is disproportionately quicker is due to latency – that is, the delay between your request to download something and the action being delivered to your phone. 5G will bridge this gap completely meaning that as soon as your request something, the process will be underway.

When does 5G come out?

While 5G is being trialled in some areas, for the most part we won’t be expecting a rollout until around 2020. In the UK the government has pledged £740m for the development and implementation of 5G infrastructure, but has not given a specific date. Due to the UK’s relatively low ranking in terms of internet speeds and the fact that 4G is only available 53% of the time we could be waiting a little bit longer.

Will I need a new device?

Yes. As with any new type of mobile data that is brought out new devices are required to be able to access it. They will be backwards compatible however, so if you buy a 5G phone it will still be able to tap into 3G and 4G networks when 5G is not available.

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Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.