What is 5G?

Each of the four nationwide cell phone carriers, as well as smartphone chipmakers and the major network equipment companies are working on developing 5G network technology for their customers.

There are many significant hurdles that all the industry players have to clear before you’ll see a little 5G symbol next to the signal bars on your smartphone screen. For example, it has yet to be determined what 5G even means, let alone what it will look like and when it will get here.

But as consumers use up rapidly growing amounts of 4G bandwidth watching streaming videos on their phones, 5G will soon become a necessity. As telecom engineers work furiously to develop 5G technology, we’re getting a clearer picture of the who, what, where, when and why of 5G.

What is 5G?

The “G” in 3G, 4G and 5G stands for “generation.” So 5G will be the fifth generation of wireless network technology.

The standards for 5G have not yet been set. According to Bill Smith, president of AT&T’s (TTech30)network operations, 5G will likely be defined in 2018, and the standards for 5G will codified sometime in 2019 by the standards-setting International Telecommunication Union, a branch of the United Nations. The standards will determine which wireless technologies can be called “5G,” as well as what its characteristics must include, such as how fast it will be.

Still, it’s possible to make a very educated guess about what 5G will look like based on the emerging 5G technologies that the wireless industry is experimenting with.

Here’s the elevator pitch: 5G will be faster, smarter and less power-hungry than 4G, enabling a slew of new wireless gadgets. 5G will let us have faster smartphones, more smart-home devices and longer-lasting wearable gizmos.

CNN MONEY

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