Verizon Will Begin Field-Testing 5G Technology in 2016
Verizon will begin field-testing 5G technology within the next year, and expects commercial deployment to begin sometime in 2017 – which is much earlier than the 2020 time frame that many industry specialists had predicted.
Verizon is already the largest wireless carrier in the USA, and these tests would make them the first carrier in the world to make a serious move into 5G technology. The addition of significantly higher responsiveness and speeds is also a major transformation in the telecom industry in general. Just as the change to 4G technology caused a massive growth of smartphone and mobile service usage, 5G could cause its own technical revolution.
Roger Gurnani, Verizon’s chief information and technology architect said in an interview that he expects there to be a lot of changes in the future, and that he couldn’t imagine the amount of new products and services that the introduction of 5G could bring.
How Fast is 5G?
Verizon’s initial tests have shown that a 5G connection could be between 30-50 times faster than the current 4G network. This is higher speeds than Google Fiber offers through a direct connection.
Gurnani predicts that with 5G, a copy of the movie “The Guardians of the Galaxy” could download in as little as 15 seconds, much faster than the average of 6 minutes it takes via 4G.
Of course, there are many other benefits to 5G. It’s much more responsive and supposed to be more power-efficient. Which means that devices could last much longer. Additionally, carriers will be able to send much more data across a larger pipe, so if you want to watch a hit television show like “Game of Thrones”, it should stream perfectly even if millions of others are watching at the same time.
However, it’s still early days for 5G technology, so early in fact that most don’t agree on what the technology will actually look like or be able to do. The increased responsiveness and speed may breathe additional life into emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, or it may mean that everyday household objects such as your fridge and stove can talk to each other. It could mean you can visit another world anytime you like using virtual reality, or we could see cars that can drive themselves. At this point we just don’t know.
But what we do know that, at this time Verizon is concentrating on their field-trials and trying to fast-track the technology. There’s a worldwide race to be the first to get 5G, and Verizon plans to stay in the lead.
Verizon isn’t the only one in the early tests of 5G. South Korea is hoping that its wireless carriers will be ready to deploy a trial 5G network sometime in 2018, hopefully in time for the Winter Olympics. Japan is hoping to have a network running before the 2020 Summer Olympics and the Chinese government is also pushing for an aggressive deployment of the new technology.
It will be interesting to see who manages to be the first to launch this technology, and exactly what it will bring us.
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