A full two years before most of us are lucky enough to get our hands on the superfast future of wireless technology that is 5G, it has already made its debut at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
But why choose to debut the fastest bit of tech at the games? Well, there is actually a surprising reason behind it. The countryside, surrounding the area where many tourists resided for the duration of the games, is prone to rampaging wild boars. Though this may sound like somewhat of a bizarre threat, it is just that, a prominent and very serious hazard which has the potential to impact the safety and lives and civilians in the area.
Unlike 4G, 5G has the ability to relay information at a much faster rate successfully warding off the porcine pests that roam the mountainous region. By employing a 5G network the games have been able to deploy fast-acting systems that shoot rays, spew gases and emit tiger roars.
But that was not all they used the new found wireless technology for… Acknowledging that its commercial roll-out date is not set until 2020, the games boasted that 5G was used to run shuttle buses with no humans at the wheel, generate 360-degree images in real time showing competing figure skaters as they glide around the ice.
5G is really going for gold
Fifth-generation wireless networks aren’t messing around, they are designed to be wicked fast – around 100 times faster than 4G. At 10 gigabits a second, 5G can send a full-length high definition movie in a matter of seconds. It also paves the way for the IoT, where by devices from speakers to traffic lights, heck, even dog collars can talk to each other.
Everyone in the tech industry will be wanting a slice of the 5G pie and its capabilities. The superfast wireless technology is set to be instrumental for developing artificial intelligence, drones, self-driving vehicles, robots and other machines that transmit massive data in real time, details Sandra Rivera, Intel Corp.’s California-based senior vice president overseeing network platforms.
“It really is, we call it, the era of machines,” says Sandra. “Machines are coming, and the 5G is a big enabler with that true convergence of computing and communications.”
Current 5G real, or not real?
Chipmaker Qualcomm, without specifically naming the test at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, have said 5G is not real 5G, that won’t land until 2019. Qualcomm’s product marketing director Sherif Hanna says, “A lot of the demonstrations right now are … not based on the global standard for 5G ratified by the 3GPP. It’s using a competing specification that was used by a few select operators, but not adopted as the global standard”.
Either way, 5G is on its way and it will definitely shake up wireless network connections as we know them.