Data storage devices are becoming faster and smaller: Current CPUs (central processing unit) and GPUs (graphics processing unit) are the fastest yet, and it’s only natural for data transfer protocols to follow suit. Enter 5G, the next generation of mobile networks that should one day replace 4G LTE.
Although it might seem that 5G is bringing “more of the same” to the table — greater speed, faster responses to data requests and more simultaneous connections, among others — these upgrades will open the door to exciting applications that were previously impossible.
But first, let’s talk about speed.
How fast is it, really?
5G as an industry standard isn’t yet set in stone. In fact, the first consumer mobile phones that support it will probably be sold no earlier than 2020. This hasn’t stopped many manufacturers, including Samsung, Huawei and Nokia, from trying to raise the bar for the current upload/download speeds and then labeling their breakthroughs as 5G.
Samsung reached peak download rate of 7.5Gbit/s (roughly 935 megabytes per second — or taking just one second to download a full HD movie).
If that’s impressive, wait until you hear about Nokia. Its Nokia Bell Labs unit reached 10Gbit/s in symmetrical data speeds. This means you could both download and upload a high-quality, full HD movie (1.2Gb in size) in less than a second.
Theoretically, these speeds could go up much higher, to somewhere in range of 20Gbit/s. But it may take a while until we can see this in practice. The results mentioned above were achieved in ideal conditions; for example, Samsung’s impressive download rate becomes much less so when the data-receiving unit is moving, when it falls sharply to 1.2Gbit/s. Even this is a whole lot more than average U.S. fixed broadband speeds (54.97Mbit/s in download and 18.88Mbit/s in upload) and especially average U.S. mobile internet speeds (19.61Mbit/s in download and 7.94Mbit/s in upload).