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Technology doesn't go very linearly forward.

There are many things we await with eager expectations. One of these is the 5G network.

I've been keen to observe and stick my spoon in to the "cutting edge" for 30+ years: I was lucky enough, you could say, to have parents that thought it would be wise to get the guy familiarized with computers. Oh boy, I did.

Let's recap: What is 5G network?

5G is the fifth generation of a mobile network. It describes with one term the set of technologies that will create faster and better mobile network; a data and voice network that can serve the images, text, voice, and all forms of media for phones, tablets, and other 5G-enabled devices.

5G mobile network technology kind of falls into what I perceive as:

  • very lucrative, promising technology that could once again revigorate the UX of mobile usage
  • a massive investment world-wide
  • interesting as a technological innovation in its own right; yet..
  • ..an innovation that isn't that revolutionary, rather evolutionary.

On researching the 5G network I found that for the average joe, it's rather elusive and somewhat elongated transition that hasn't perhaps clarified itself as strongly as previous evolutions in mobile technology.

5G in short will be done by

  • increasing the density - ie. number of mobile base stations; note: not necessarily the large perceivable "masts", but rather smaller tranceivers (radio transmitter / receivers) that have 5G-compliant hardware and a software stack
  • implementing a compatible counterpart to the mobile devices (phones and tablets)

Second observation (as of 11/2018): it's not yet there.

Sure, there's a great momentum, and 5G will be implemented. But right now, going around to a cellular shop, you can't ask for a 5G phone. Even if you'd get one, there would simply be no 5G networks to utilize!

I visited 2 shops in October 2018, and asked for the 5G handset availability and close future prospects. These were quite nil. In the words of a sales person, "I'd not yet be worried at the 5G at all as a criteria for purchasing a phone."

Why I expect a lot of positive influence from 5G?

If you come to think of it, "mobile" practically has been b-l-o-a-t-i-n-g. Even though the hardware has become better, there's a sense of diminishing returns. Did I get the information I was looking for? Yep. By waiting at least 1, perhaps sometimes 5-10 seconds. That's seconds. Dude. We were supposed to have lightning fast stuff by the year 2020.

Imagine a 1970s scifi movie, where there's an intelligent robot talking to the main characters. The protagonist asks the robot for data. Robot waits..... waits..... waits.... waits... seconds pass by. One... two... three... four... rolls some kind of graphic in front of the protagonist so that she doesn't get angry with waiting. Six seconds... seven.. Finally, the robot utters an answer. Impressive?

No. What went wrong?

It's not actually that simple. Yet again, it is. No rocket science. Let's get back to some of culprits and the future of 5G in the second part!

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