After nearly a decade of development, it seems as though we are finally seeing the first iteration of 5G introduced throughout the UK, albeit in a very limited way. Yet, as the major telecoms providers battle it out for their share of 5G pie, the facts surrounding this next step in broadband technology seems to remain somewhat elusive to the general public.
While the move to 5G presents a host of benefits to the average user, from smoother video streaming to more reliable web browsing, this new technology will be particularly advantageous to industry professionals, especially app developers.Before we extol the virtues of this upgrade and how it will impact app development, however, it may be best to get a slightly better understanding of what 5G actually is and how it differs from its predecessor.
Currently, the majority of us are connecting to the internet via a traditional 4G LTE connection. This has allowed us to carry out data-heavy processes such as streaming, web browsing and online gaming which were deemed impossible in previous iterations. However, the move toward more data heavy functions has led to congestion issues, something which has pushed 4G networks to their limits.
This is mostly down to the simple fact that 4G LTE technology relies on specific radio frequencies below 6GHz, which struggle with large amounts of data. This is where 5G comes in, operating on frequencies between 30GHz and 300GHz and offering a range of unique advantages to its users.
While such high frequencies have their limits, they also present a host of benefits. For example, data transference speeds can be expected to skyrocket with 5G connections. In a testing environment, 5G peaked at one terabit per second in download speeds, 65,000 times faster than your average 4G connection.
Incredible speed isn’t the only huge benefit the rollout of 5G will bring. Latency, the time it takes for a message to traverse a system, will be cut to basically zero, making sci-fi subjects like automated vehicles and ultra-responsive VR a reality. Finally, we can expect 5G technology to massively increase connection density for devices. Currently, 4G can support around 2,000 devices connected to its network per .38 square miles. 5G networks on the other hand, will allow for up to 1 million devices to be connected in the same space, allowing households to connect everything from their laptops to their WiFi-connected fridge up to a broadband network.
Of course, this may sound revolutionary to the average user, but how can 5G technology change the way the app industry operates? As people and businesses increasingly integrate with app technology, developers will be able to use 5G to bring a whole new set of products and services to customers. In short, applications working on 5G will run smoother and more efficiently than ever before, meaning every sector will benefit.
For example, the manufacturing industry will find that 5G allows for ‘smart factories’ to be built, which will be able to effectively run AI and augmented reality systems to turbocharge efficiency. Even in agriculture, as ‘agritech’ becomes more viable, 5G technology will connect users in remote areas, improving yields and, in turn profitability.
While we are still in the very early stages of this revolution and issues regarding security and reliability still stand, the adoption of 5G technology will have far-reaching implications not just for developers but for the world as a whole.
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