What is 5G? What to know about the tech upgrade that will make your phone even faster

If you find yourself using mobile data and internet a lot while on the go, there’s no doubt you’ve heard whispers about 5G, the next big step up for mobile communication. This new technology is part of a massive upgrade to the very framework of the systems that deliver and direct data to smartphones across the globe, and it’s coming to an area near you very soon. But what is 5G all about, and why should you care? How will 5G affect you, and where is it touching down first? Here’s everything you need to know about the tech’s impending rollout.

 

What is 5G?

5G stands for “fifth-generation cellular wireless.” Eventually, it will replace or potentially augment the 4G LTE connection you may be using right now.

The most basic explanation is this: It’s going to offer ridiculously fast speeds, for both uploads and downloads. You’ll see a drastic drop in latency, or how long it takes mobile devices to ping one another, and as a result you’ll likely have to start paying more for the privilege when you get your phone bill every month.

Previously, the newest technology was 4G LTE, which is being souped-up to even higher speeds than ever before. It’s important to keep in mind that LTE is not a term that will carry over to the 5G switch-over. It means “Long-Term Evolution,” and it is in fact just a 4G technology. It’s simply a standard for wireless data transmission, as T-Mobile explains it, and it’s in fact different from the next higher grade of data, which is (you guessed it) 5G.

 

When this new certification is rolled out, slowly but surely everyone will be rolled over to it when we all have compatible devices. Think of when the switch was finally flipped from 3G being the new standard to 4G – this situation is similar in many ways. You probably won’t notice much of a change in these preliminary stages, because the cutover time (switching from one type of network to the other) is going to be as unobtrusive as possible.

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