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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What Is 5G, and How Fast Will It Be?

You couldn’t escape the 5G hype at CES 2018 and the same is holding true for 2019. Everyone—from Samsung and Intel to cellular carriers and smartphone companies—wants you to know how amazing 5G will be. Samsung called it “wireless fiber”, promising super-fast low latency internet everywhere. 5G is supposed to be faster than a typical home cable internet connection today…and it’s wireless, too.

What Is 5G?

RELATED: What Is 4G LTE?

5G is the industry standard that will supersede the current widespread 4G LTE standard, just as 4G supplanted 3G. 5G just stands for “fifth generation”—it’s the fifth generation of this standard.

This standard is designed to be much faster than current 4G LTE technology. It’s not just about speeding up smartphone internet connections, though. It’s about enabling faster wireless internet everywhere for everything from connected cars to smarthome and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

In the future, your smartphone and all the other devices you have with cellular connectivity will use 5G instead of the 4G LTE technology they likely use today.

How Fast Will 5G Be?

RELATED: The Best (Actually Useful) Tech We Saw at CES 2018

Tech companies are promising a lot from 5G. While 4G tops out at a theoretical 100 megabits per second (Mbps), 5G tops out at 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). That means 5G is a hundred times faster than the current 4G technology—at its theoretical maximum speed, anyway.

For example, the Consumer Technology Association pointed out that, at this speed, you could download a two-hour movie in just 3.6 seconds on 5G, versus 6 minutes on 4G or 26 hours on 3G.

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