5G Advanced Explained & Why 5G is Taking its Time

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In 2019, 5G started its global rollout to much fanfare. Promising faster speeds and better device connectivity, the rollout has been troubled even in many of the world’s most developed countries. This year, we’re expecting the arrival of 5.5G, or 5G Advanced, which will double down on the benefits of this new Wi-Fi generation. Here’s everything you need to know about the state of 5G today.

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The Benefits of 5G

The leap between 3G and 4G enabled the world we live in today, ensuring fast and relatively latency-free internet. With it, came the viability of online video-sharing and streaming, two content formats that are dominant today. Many industries today rely on streamed media, like Netflix’s on-demand video or livestreams in the iGaming space. In iGaming, blackjack online games are played in real-time using modern streaming technology, so the host can interact with its many players. Now, 5G promises even faster internet and the lowest latency ever achieved, which will enable more advanced video content in the future.

5G also has the added benefit of enhanced Internet-of-Things applications, meaning it helps make smart homes/workplaces a reality. 5G is also critical for machine-to-machine interactions, so its adoption is crucial for continued automation and AI integration into many processes. While these benefits are obvious to those who use these technologies, many don’t have access to costly smart home appliances, so 4G becomes a more sensible choice financially. Depending on personal circumstances and local infrastructure, your mileage with 5G may vary, which is why adoption has been sluggish in some regions.

5G Advanced Explained

With 6G confirmed to be on the way and expected as soon as 2030, leading 5G network providers are upgrading to 5.5G or 5G Advanced. Not to be dismissed as a mid-cycle stepping stone between the two, 5G Advanced supports emerging industries like AI. In fact, it’s the first mobile standard created with modern machine learning and AI advancements in mind. If 5G promises smart home support in the future, 5.5G promises AI support for existing networks that are predicted to explode in size and complexity when AI tools become commonplace in the telecom industry.

As expected, 5.5G boasts increased capacity and even lower latency, though its true value comes from its widely cast net of use cases. For example, one of its biggest benefits is improving older but vital radio networks by increasing coverage and capacity. On the other end of the spectrum, it supports newer communication methods like video conferencing, streaming, and extended reality tech (namely virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality).

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Other benefits include better multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) performance, which makes data transfers faster. This is necessary for spaces where larger data files are sent across the internet, which will have to contend with larger, more advanced file formats in the future. 5.5G is also the most accurately timed standard yet, which is crucial for fields like energy management or banking, where every millisecond counts.

5G’s Infrastructure Demand

As 5G networks seek an upgrade to 5.5G, there is a looming infrastructural demand that is currently being tackled across the world. While pre-existing 4G infrastructure can be modified to become 5G compatible, there are meaningful differences between 4G and 5G signals. 4G exists at below 6 gigahertz on the radio spectrum, while 5G signals are higher at and above the 24 gigahertz mark. Higher frequencies like this are needed to deliver faster data transfer and better quality communications online.

However, those higher-frequency 5G waves cover less distance than lower-frequency 4G waves. This meant gaps appeared in 4G infrastructure, where the 5G waves couldn’t reach the next tower. Even when they could, 4G towers projected across 360 degrees while 5G needs more direction. This has necessitated widespread infrastructural overhauls to deliver 5G, which is yet another part of its adoption delay.

Networks are hurrying to implement 5G and 5.5G, however. With 6G scheduled for 2030, governments and telecom businesses across the world have a vested interest in supporting 5G adoption before moving to the next standard.

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