Speedy and secure, 5G networks are almost here. The term “5G” refers to fifth-generation networks that are not only many times faster than 4G, but also enable connectivity for driverless cars, smart cities, and reduce the need for wired infrastructure. The user experience will be more consistent and efficient.
But when will 5G become a reality?
Don’t expect widespread availability until 2020. Urban real estate markets are likely to experience 5G first. Carriers are charging ahead with 5G, even though there aren’t currently any 5G phones available to consumers.
Verizon says it will offer a test of 5G that will replace the wired fiber-optic network in the Sacramento, California, market later this year. AT&T plans to offer 5G in up to five markets during 2018, and T-Mobile has plans for 30 cities: New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas are on the list. Sprint is starting with six cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
The equipment needed to provide 5G will transform residential neighborhoods and business districts. Homeowners in some 5G-target neighborhoods have complained about the aesthetic of the new extra equipment.
Some experts say that it’s not likely that 5G will be available outside of the home initially, but instead it will act more like a homeowner’s Wi-Fi or broadband network.
Unlike the current system that requires huge towers placed far apart, since 5G signals don’t travel as far, they will come from smaller equipment spaced at about 500 feet. Hundreds of thousands – or millions – of these needed cell stations will likely be installed on streetlights or utility poles, in tandem with refrigerator-sized units on the ground.
But home and business owners will likely appreciate the no-buffering-while-streaming connectivity and more-efficient security and surveillance home products 5G promises to provide. Get ready for more requests for virtual and augmented reality spaces within homes.
5G will likely have the biggest impact on The Internet of Things and smart home technology. This will likely increase the expectation of home buyers that their future home will already include smart home technology. A lack of such 5G connectivity and the resulting smart home tech will stand out like worn, burnt-orange shag carpeting or a geese-in-bonnets wallpaper borders.
There has been talk about a national network provided by the federal government for national cybersecurity reasons, but Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released a January statement opposing a federal 5G network in favor of the market leading tech advances. It’s more likely that top internet providers currently spending billions will offer 5G long before the government has gotten too far into the discussion, let alone planning and implementation.
For the time being, keep your ears open for any 5G projects in your local markets. It can be a selling point for early-tech home and business-use adopters.
Likely 5G Uses per TechWorld
- Mobile broadband improvements for smart applications, cloud storage, reduced latency, and improved virtual and augmented reality reloading times
- Smart homes with more connected devices
- More driverless cars, as the connected network allows cars to better “talk” to each other, check weather forecasts, and find the best route between destinations
- Healthcare adaptations that provide more services in rural areas and devices that monitor chronically ill people at home
- Improved emergency services (e.g., natural disasters)
- Improved logistics, as vehicles and products are tracked on a more reliable system