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

How fast is 5G?

The best answer here is, of course, “blazing fast.” It’s going to speed up the everyday tasks you complete on the move exponentially, to the point where trying to load a movie or TV show on your phone will feel like blinking an eye.

Of course, like with any type of mobile connectivity, the speeds you can reach with 5G will vary, based on where you live, the service you use, and when you’re able to adopt it for your device or home.

“We expect download speeds to be up to 5X faster initially,” says Sprint’s Roni Singleton. “At 5X faster speed, an HD movie will take about 70 seconds to download on 5G vs about 6 minutes on 4G.” Put it simply, you’ll be seeing a massive improvement in speeds.

According to chip manufacturer Qualcomm, download speeds of 4.5 GB per second are possible, but initial speeds could be a lot slower at first – such as 1.4GB to start out with. However, as The New York Times points out, that’s still about 20 times faster than any 4G LTE connectivity.

There’s more to a 5G connection than simply speedy internet, however. It’s going to open up the world’s smartphone infrastructure in a way that helps everyone who uses the internet regularly while out and about. New 5G framework will offer additional high-bandwidth, high-frequency spectrum bands that will help “mitigate congestion,” according to market analysis firm OpenSignal. This means there’s more space for traffic to flow through, and less slowdown that occurs as the result of congestion.

Moreover, car manufacturers will be utilizing 5G connectivity before long so you can use internet on the go without having to purchase a separate hotspot for mobile browsing, streaming, and gaming. This is great news for cars with built-in media centers like Tesla’s lineup, since you’ll be able to get more out of your mobile connection center with 5G.

The internet as a whole will be a much less congested, bustling place given that there will be more bandwidth for all, with higher quality video, less lag, and a space for everyone who needs it on the next-gen network.

What will happen to 4G?

Just because you’re switching over to 5G someday, that doesn’t mean 4G/LTE is going away. If you happen to adopt the new tech and it drops when connected to a 5G signal, it’ll just go back to LTE, just like the days of 3G. You shouldn’t really notice a change. Even now, when we’re two generations ahead, 3G still pops up in coverage areas from time to time. The bottom line is, you won’t lose coverage if you decide not to upgrade now, or ever, really – not until years down the line.

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