5G – YOUR GUIDE TO THE NEXT GENERATION

Published: 30 July 2020

It’s hard to switch on the news without hearing about 5G, which has become a much-politicised issue due to the involvement of tech company Huawei.

But politics aside, what exactly is 5G and what will it mean for UK consumers and business? In our latest IT advice special we take a further look at this next generation of technology.

THE BASICS

5G is the new generation of cellular technology and it follows previous generations of mobile technology, such as 3G, which led to the launch of smartphones, and 4G, that allowed faster browsing – i.e. you could stream content and watch videos on the move. 5G won’t replace 3G and 4G, but instead be another ‘layer’ on top which runs at much higher and faster frequencies.

5G roll-out started in May 2019 and now most of the main network providers (EE, Vodafone, O2, Three, BT Mobile etc) offer 5G. To have access to 5G you will need a 5G compatible phone – some of the android handsets such as Samsung are, but not current iPhone models* – or a 5G enabled router, which some network providers are offering. You will also need a 5G contract with your mobile network provider, as well as living or working in an area that has 5G coverage.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

The main difference with 5G is that it will have greater bandwidth than 4G, which will result in higher download speeds. 5G will be able to service more than just cellular networks (i.e. smartphones) – it will be used as a general internet service provider for laptops and desktop computers, competing with cable internet. In short, when 5G is widely available, a lot of households will start to use it, rather than landline-based broadband.

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS

If you don’t have access to 5G but want to find ways to improve your home internet speed, a Mesh-based Wi-Fi System can help. This is a whole home system that eliminates dead zones and provides uninterrupted Wi-Fi throughout the house, as a weak signal will deliver poor internet speed to your devices.

Traditional routers will broadcast Wi-Fi from a single point, but mesh Wi-Fi systems have multiple access points that all ‘talk’ to each other so you can get the best possible coverage throughout your home. As people continue to work from home and need consistent and reliable internet access, Mesh-based Wi-Fi systems are increasing in popularity and are an option if you are unable to access 5G.

If you’re unsure of how 5G or Mesh-based Wi-Fi can help improve how you work, then speak to one of the team at Lifeline IT.

* The forthcoming iPhone 12 which launches in Autumn 2020 will be 5G compatible.

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