How 5G wireless will soon supercharge the internet

How 5G wireless will soon supercharge the internet

BARCELONA — 5G wireless is coming faster than you might think. But as the advent of this next generation of over-the-air broadband draws near, the hype surrounding it is starting to ebb.

Last year, a typical quote about 5G might have sounded like the declaration that Meredith Attwell Baker, president of the wireless trade group CTIA, made at a conference in September: “5G will make every industry and every part of our lives better.”

And now? The rhetoric is a bit more subdued. “5G is going to be an incremental upgrade,” T-Mobile (TMUS) chief technical officer Neville Ray said at a press conference Tuesday night at Mobile World Congress 2018.

Yes, 5G will eventually bring much faster downloads and much lower latency — but it’s not going to replace 4G the way 4G wiped 3G off the map. And it won’t come to smartphones until after it reaches other, larger devices.

Not just vaporware

Signs of 5G’s progress from marketing visions and bulky testing gear to deployment schedules and early versions of consumer hardware were all over the floor here at MWC.

View photos


On the left is an example of Qualcomm’s early 5G equipment. On the right is its smartphone chip.

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