4G users may be happily enjoying broadband-like connection speeds on their mobile devices right now, but this contentment may be short lived: the next generation of 5G wireless networks is sure to profoundly alter consumer expectations. For example, whereas an 8GB movie would take 7 minutes to download over 4G and more than an hour over 3G, a trivial 6 seconds is all it takes over 5G.
Unfortunately, it’s not clear exactly when 5G will be available to consumers—here are 10 reasons why 5G is not yet ready for primetime.
1. Industry and international standards need to be developed.
Governments and telecommunications giants will need to converge on a common set of standards and protocols for globally interoperable 5G networks.
2. Existing wireless infrastructures will need to be overhauled to support 5G.
5G operates at higher radio frequencies, so wireless architectures currently in place will need to be updated with smaller, more ubiquitous antennas.
3. Beamforming needs to mature as a technology.
Beamforming makes it possible to directionally steer a wireless signal toward its target. This is a critical to 5G, as the technology would make getting around obstacles and interference a trivial affair.
4. Any standards created around 5G will need to be backwards-compatible.
5G standards will need to be compatible with low and mid-range spectrum bands as well as 4G and 3G networks.
5. Stronger security needs to be created for IoT and high data volume/velocity mission critical devices that require 5G.
Faster network speeds and lower latency will be a boon for a myriad of data-intensive M2M/IoT devices. Safe widespread 5G adoption will require better security protocols and standards for supporting autonomous devices and their data requirements in the field.
6. Regulatory bodies will need to make radio frequency accommodations for 5G.
5G will require that governments and regulatory bodies like the FCC allocate more frequencies to mobile broadband, potentially encroaching on existing services such as digital terrestrial TV.
7. Copper cabling will need to be replaced by fiber to support 5G.
Despite the wireless transmission between mobile devices and cell towers, the majority of the underlying connections between cell towers and the internet is made over copper cabling, which will need to replaced with fiber to support the larger data volumes that 5G will bring.