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The new wireless promise of 5G



While much of the world is connecting their personal devices to fast data sharing 4G mobile networks, industry pioneers are shaping next generation networks to feed the world’s increasing appetite for the Internet.

5G networks aren’t expected to roll out broadly until 2020, but according to analyst firm CCS Insight, 5G was one of the hottest topics at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. That’s because talk is significantly shifting beyond smart pipe dreams into a do-anything-anywhere-from-any-device reality.

In a nutshell, 5G networks will provide more data bandwidth and less latency due to built-in computing intelligence aimed at handling more data more efficiently than today’s 4G networks.

By combining communications and computing technologies, 5G networks will leverage more benefits of Moore’s Law, according to Asha Keddy, vice president in Intel’s Communication and Devices Group and general manager of the company’s Standards and Advanced Technology team.

“3G networks were designed for voice while 4G was designed for more complex human interaction with voice and data,” she told iQ just ahead of attending the Mobile World Congress for the fifth consecutive year.

Smartphones were a new thing that drove big demand for 3G and then 4G. Just how it was tough to foresee that smartphones would create such a demand on networks, it’s unclear exactly what will be the big, new impact on future 5G networks.

What is known is that 5G networks will need to handle lots of complexity to satisfy all of those smartphones, home appliances, personal drones, robots and driverless cars that will need to connect to the Internet wirelessly five years from now.

By 2020, 5G networks will need to handle a mobile computing and communications needs of people but also more than 200 billion devices and machines around the world. Smart city sensors, transportation, industrial automation systems and other Internet of Things alone could account for 30.1 billion installed connected things, according to International Data Corporation.

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