You’re going to hear a lot about so-called “5G” technology in the next year or two, as wireless carriers, phone makers, and mobile chip designers start rolling out new products designed to offer faster, more reliable mobile data connections than 4G LTE.
But what exactly is 5G?
According to new guidelines from the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in order to qualify, next-gen networks need to offer maximum download speeds of at least 20 Gbps and upload speeds of 10 Gbps.
Of course, users almost never actually get the theoretical maximum. Current-gen LTE networks offer speeds up to 1 Gbps, but you’ve probably never downloaded content that quickly on your smartphone.
So the guidelines also spells out requirements for real-world usage. A network must offer “target values” of 100 Mbps downloads and 50 Mbps uploads.
Those are actually the kinds of speeds you might be able to get from some existing 4G networks on a good day… but effectively today’s top speeds will be tomorrow’s baseline.
And when I say tomorrow, I mean, probably sometime by 2020. That’s when the ITU report sees the new tech being widely adopted.
Other details in the report include maximum latency of 4ms, support for at least a million connected devices per square kilometer, and new requirements for energy efficiency.
via Ars Technica