We’ve been hearing about the mythical 5G for years now, however it has always seemed as though the new wireless standard was too far into the future to worry about. Those times may finally be over.
The Federal Communications Commission, led by Chairman Tom Wheeler (pictured above), is set to circulate a proposal that will kick off implementation of 5G, and if passed, this proposal will lead to sections of the high-band radio frequency spectrum being dedicated to 5G. These high-frequency radio waves are able to deliver far quicker data speeds than the frequencies used for 4G. The proposal will be circulated this week.
The push for 5G is more than just a push for faster internet — the FCC wants the U.S. to lead the way in developing the network, and if approved the proposal will make the U.S. the first country to open higher frequencies for 5G.
Of course, the FCC itself won’t be defining what 5G actually is. Instead, it will simply open up a bunch of radio frequencies and let private companies use those frequencies for their own 5G implementations — as was done with 4G when it was first being developed. Both AT&T and Verizon have said that they will be testing 5G in 2017.
So just how fast will 5G be over 4G? According to the FCC, 5G frequencies could offer data speeds of up to a whopping gigabit per second, a speed that could boost the Internet of Things and create a more connected world. Wheeler expects the research into 5G spectrums to be finished by July 14.
Of course, 5G has some serious limitations that carriers will need to circumvent — for example, the higher frequencies mean that the radio waves can’t travel as far, or as well through walls. Still, that just means that companies like Verizon will need to implement different technologies in order to get 5G to customers.
It’s likely to be a few years before we have 5G on our phones, but at least development of the new standard is underway. Gigabit-per-second YouTube videos, here we come!