5G by 2020 in London, UK?

We have being lagging behind the rest of the World here in the UK with our 4G super-fast internet service that has rather slowly rolled out across the country.


4G promised super-fast internet connectivity for our smartphones and wireless devices at a speed comparable to broadband in the home.


And, whilst speed and coverage has been extremely variable across our nation, London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has been quoted as saying that he expects London to have 5G coverage by 2020.


What is 5G?


Well you may not be too surprised to hear that Boris is talking about something that doesn’t even exist!


At best 5G is a collection of hopes, wishes, concepts and predictions. A fifth generation internet service for our mobile phones and tablets will of course become reality but I would not be so brave as to suggest this date.


At the moment 4G speeds where coverage is available do provide a great upgrade from the 3G signal most of us use but 5G should take us into a new reality.


How fast is 5G?


For 5G to be a success the latest technologies that companies such as Samsung are developing will need to lead to a 5G standard that is 100 times faster than 4G.


Can you imagine downloading a movie instantly and encountering no lag time when initialising a media stream?


The most daunting word for me here though is standard. A 5G standard needs to be developed to ensure a consistent experience at home and abroad.


5G to lift the restrictions of 4G


Mobile phone contracts today are in my opinion completely outdated. We live in a media rich world and whether we are streaming music or TV or sharing videos on Facebook we want to consume and share huge amounts of data.


A free GB of data each month from your mobile phone provider is a drop in the ocean and this has pushed many of us into using our mobile tech almost exclusively via Wi-Fi in our homes or at work.


It is a sad story but mobile tech simply isn’t available on the fly.


The good news though is that it is estimated that 5G will have over a thousand times the capacity of 4G and this will allow mobile phone networks to open up the flood gates and potentially give us unlimited data in unlimited locations.


5G technology


If Samsung and researchers at New York University have their way the layout of network base stations will change radically.


This is due to their belief that we will need to use millimeter-wave frequencies that are currently not used by other broadcasting technologies.


This frequency range which sits between 3 and 300 MHz will allow for increased speeds and accommodate for all that extra traffic but there is a problem.


Millimeter-waves do not travel well through solid structures and the signal strength drops off quickly over distance.


This may lead to a huge increase in the number of base stations required to create a country-wide signal, but of course these would be much smaller and less noticed compared to today’s base stations.


Of course the technological breakthrough that will lead to a 5G standard could materialise elsewhere altogether.


Will we see 5G in London by 2020?


Maybe but I predict egg on the face of Boris Johnson!


Written by: Michael Brown

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