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Fifth-Generation Networks Are Coming

Updated on March 4, 2020
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i am a long-time avid technologist. i began my tech career in the Apple world but moved to Enterprise Solutions later.

5g Is Coming, Are You Ready?

5g Will Be a Huge Change...

What does 5g mean for users and developers today?

The day it most likely means you are in the wrong place. 5g has a limited rollout and most likely won’t make it to where you are until later this year or nearly in 2021. If we think about the evolution of cellular networks, it is interesting. 1g was cool; I can talk anywhere phase. Well, it wasn’t it was I could talk anywhere as long as anywhere was within sight of a cellular antenna. I could only talk, and my phone was huge.

2g brought along better talking. It also brought along the initial concept of the first handheld phones. Although I can say the first phones were not small, nor did you want to be holding them for extended periods as you were talking, or don’t work out in the morning and then talk on the phone for an hour.

3g with literally stands for third-generation cellular networks, brought along the concept of data. You were not going to be streaming movies and talking on your phone at the same time in the days of 3g. But you could get in an airplane, fly to a city, and when you landed, download all your email onto your phone. The first concept of being always connected.

The next iteration was called 4g. Or a fourth-generation cellular network. 4g rolled out a few years ago and now comes in two flavors. The original 4g and the newer 4g Advanced or sometimes called LTE (long term evolution). This new network allowed you to talk and if you wanted to verify what your friend said while talking, by looking it up on the internet.

The four generations of cellular service brought more and more capabilities to organizations and cellular devices. Let’s end the history lesson there. Hopefully, it wasn’t boring. The next generation of networks is the implementation of 5g.

Fifth Generation network services present a new way of delivering data. For the first time, the fixed world of your home, and the mobile world of your cellular phone will operate on the same 5g networks, with a lot more bandwidth for both.

But 5g will change everything!

Fiber optic networks drive 5g networks as they are rolled out. Fiber optic networks replaced traditional copper wiring about Fifteen years ago. During the last fifteen years, many physical locations have replaced their copper wire with Fiber. Why? Well, with one Fiber cable, you can move a lot more data than you can with 15, 20 of 30 copper cables. Fiber is fast, and a 5g network needs fast.

The other component of 5g that will impact developers is latency. Today networks have latency. Latency is the lag in a network. My favorite example of latency is listening to the old NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Landing recordings.

“Mission control tranquillity base here.”

With terrestrial radios, there would be an instant response. The other person would push their button and talk the voice returning to the sender very quickly. But the reality of latency is that it represents time. You read the initial broadcast from the Eagle as it was sitting on the moon. You hear that, and then you wait—the actual lag transmitting a radio signal to the moon, 23-30 seconds. The same lag applied to a radio signal sent from the moon to earth.

“Tranquility base, mission control here.”

Networks have been like that for a long time. There has always been latency. As we move to fiber networks, we are suddenly sending information at light speed, in the copper past. The limit was y speed; now, with fiber cables, suddenly, we are moving data faster.

For users, it means you won’t wait as long. For developers, it means they have to take a long look at their applications. In the past, when your application was slow, we would add more hardware to part of the solution and get more speed. Now, you won’t have delays between the user and the compute resources.

The evolution of applications will happen after the implementation of 5g. You will probably start to see applications that take advantage fully of 5g pretty quickly after the solution moves to your city. Applications today like that conversation don’t leverage latency; they build in parts and pieces to make sure the latency doesn’t impact users.

More things will impact users and developers. I will cover those in future articles; thanks for reading!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Doc Andersen

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