Remember when 3G was the standard wireless network on your cell phone? Now, if you’re ever in an area that doesn’t have access to a 4G network, this older wireless technology seems painfully slow. It’s tough to imagine ever going back to it permanently. As it turns out, in just a short few years you might be saying the same thing about 4G networks.
According to the consulting firm Red Chalk Group, 5G wireless technology is nearly ready – and will mean big changes for the way we consume media on our mobile devices. If you think 4G is fast, you’ll be excited to learn about 5G, which is expected to significantly increase mobile internet speeds.
How Fast Are We Talkin’?
While the specifics of 5G technology have yet to be unveiled, Nelson Granados of Forbes predicts that speeds will increase drastically:
“Download speeds are bound to increase at least tenfold compared to 4G, and for true 5G standards, it could be up to 100-fold. So, if an HD movie takes six minutes to download in a 4G network, with 5G it could take a handful of seconds. Also, in the era of user-generated content, photo and video upload speeds will improve, fueling social media content.”
Not only will downloads be speedier on 5G networks, streaming media will also see its quality improve. Live sports or other events will able to be streamed on-the-go, through your mobile device (at the same quality you’d get at home), with little to no buffering. 5G also presents an opportunity to broadcast high-quality live streams easily, which will likely encourage more people to give it a try.
What Will 5G Change?
4G brought endless streaming to our mobile devices; movies, TV and music were all unlocked from the confines of Wi-Fi and given the freedom to be watched or listened to anywhere. How could 5G possibly change the new norm?
Less Streaming, More Downloading: With download speeds going from minutes to seconds, it might make more sense to simply download a video before you watch it. If you download a video you don’t have to worry about drops in coverage, allowing you to watch your video without any disruption. Granados predicts that there will be a big shift back to downloading on mobile devices through online purchases or by using download functions on popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Spotify.
Remote Workers: Remote employees will benefit from stronger communication with their office. Higher-quality video chat, hassle-free access to cloud-hosted information and smoother video streams of broadcasted company events will all result from 5G access. The list of tools at a remote workers disposal will have them feeling like they’re sitting right in the office.
Connect the World: One great thing about a leap in technology is that the previous technology becomes more accessible. Nick Chandi of Forbes Technology Council thinks that 5G will indirectly enable 4G to be widely adopted all over the world. This means developing countries can finally get access to a fast, reliable network, something that isn’t as common as it should be across the globe.
We still have several years to wait until a 5G network is made accessible, but the promise of a lightning-fast connection everywhere we go is exciting to start thinking about. These predictions for how 5G will change society are likely just the tip of the iceberg; we’ll have to wait and see the bigger implications of how the new network will affect daily life once 5G becomes the norm.
Written by Nik Vargas