How Invisible Waves Have Changed the World
Moving to millimeter waves at 26-28 GHz brings great advances in available bandwidth, and combining that with optimized beamforming in 5G brings the promise of astonishingly fast data speeds and unprecedented simultaneous capacity.
But with the higher frequencies come also some severe limitations: at the high end of the suggested 5G band, even leaves of trees can heavily attenuate the signal, so if there is a tree or two in the line-of-sight between your fancy 5G mobile and the transmitting antenna, your real-world speed may go down considerably.
Where 5G shines is serving huge concentrations of users in a location without obstacles. Think of a sports stadium with tens of thousands of spectators. That's where you can provide the uninterrupted connectivity and benefit from the amazing capability of this new technology.
Another direction that 5G is pushing to is extremely low-power Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications. This is a new area and under a lot of development at the moment, and it could spark a new revolution in bringing intelligence into technologies in our everyday environment.
But outside of these special cases, for most of the city dwellers and certainly for the majority of non-urban users, 4G and its LTE incarnation will be around for a long time.
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