Tony Studio/Getty ImagesPicture the tech landscape pre-2005 and the current technology environment. We now live in a completely mobile-first world where smartphones are a given. Industries have been transformed, enabled, and disrupted by smartphones. Each mobile G generation has brought substantial and universal changes to our world. 5G, which is just beginning, signifies another massive change to our world.How We Got to 5G: A Look Back at 2G, 3G, and 4GIn 2005, the Palm Treo used 2G to communicate data with cellular systems. Apps were installed by connecting the Treo to a PC or Mac. Data speeds ranged from 40-230Kbps, possibly reaching 384Kbps with edge service. The advent of 3G brought us apps and app stores. Then, 4G ushered in our mobile-first world. In 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G and the Apple App Store, enabling one-click installation and app management. 3G speeds ranged from 384Kbps to 2Mbps, making it practical to download apps on the phone. In 2012, the iPhone 5 running 4G/LTE changed everything. Speeds reached between 100Mbps and 1Gbps, allowing for HD video, interactive games, social media, and video conferencing.What is 5G?5G has been available for a few years, but its benefits are just becoming apparent to consumers. Businesses and industries are already experiencing another generational transformation due to 5G. Four technological advances 5G offers include transmission speed, latency, robustness, and density.Transmission Speed5G offers typical speeds up to 10 times faster than 4G, similar to having Wi-Fi speeds everywhere you go. Latency5G reduces latency to 1/10th of what it is with 4G. This means network responsiveness is much faster, critical for applications like self-driving cars. Robustness5G is better able to withstand signal fluctuations and sustain a stable connection in crowded environments, thanks to technologies like Massive MIMO and beamforming. Connectivity is more robust with 5G, helping to minimize signal interruptions.Density5G can support up to a million connected devices in a square kilometer, a significant improvement over the 10,000 devices 4G can support. Additionally, 5G is more energy-efficient and utilizes AI and machine learning to optimize communications performance. Power at the Edge5G relies on small cell sites in addition to large cell towers, improving population density and energy efficiency. The communication component of IoT devices is more power-efficient, resulting in longer battery life. Edge computing is another key feature of 5G, allowing for computing power to be placed at the edge, further optimizing performance in real time.
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