The year 2020 is one that would not be easily forgotten if at all it will escape history. One thing that quickly comes to mind once it is mentioned is the Covid-19 pandemic which claimed so many lives and brought the world to a stand-still, claiming so many lives, destroying economies and leaving so many lives devasted. It was also at this point that the word 5G network (Fifth Generation Network) became a more topic of discussion, as so many people believed the Covid-19 pandemic was a calculated and intentional move created by some individuals, especially the Chinese vendors, to pave way for the 5G network which was termed “devilish” as it was believed that with it,  humans could do anything at great speed, ease and with little time by help of the micro-chips, which would be inserted into humans so as to control them from a central point, hence having access to their mind and will. This rumour propelled so many to take a journey into knowing about the 5G network, however, there are still so many people, old, your, unlearned and learned who are yet to truly have a good grasp of the 5G network.

5G network refers to the 5th generation mobile network. It is a new global wireless standard that emerged in 2019 after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. 5G network enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. The 5G wireless network technology is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users. Higher performance and improved efficiency empower new user experiences and connects new industries.

In telecommunications, like the name refers, 5G is the fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, which cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019, and is the planned successor to the 4G networks which provide connectivity to most current cellphones. 5G networks are predicted to have more than 1.7 billion subscribers worldwide by 2025, according to the GSM Association. And like its predecessors (1G, 2G, 3G & 4G), the 5G networks are cellular networks, in which the service area is divided into small geographical areas called cells. All 5G wireless devices in a cell are connected to the Internet and telephone network by radio waves through a local antenna in the cell. The new networks have greater bandwidth than their predecessors, giving higher download speeds, eventually up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbit/s), also, adding to the 5G network being faster than the existing networks, the 5G network has higher bandwidth, hence is able to connect more different devices, with an improved quality of Internet services even in crowded areas. Furthermore, following  the increased bandwidth, it is expected the networks will increasingly be used as general internet service providers (ISPs) for laptops and desktop computers and other digital devices, competing with existing ISPs such as cable internet, and also will make possible new applications in internet-of-things (IoT) and machine-to-machine areas. Cellphones with 4G capability alone are not able to use the new networks, which require 5G-enabled wireless devices.

For better understanding and clarity of the 5G network, it is important to understand what came before it (the preceding network generations). Broadly, the first generation of mobile technology, 1G, (1980s), delivered analog voice. This means, all digital devices were only able to offer voice communication, which included the ability to use a phone in a car, or away from home really, using cell phones embedded with the 1G network.

Followed by the 1G network, is the advent of 2G network; introduced in the 1990s, with digital voice (e.g. CDMA- Code Division Multiple Access) and a short-messaging layer, pieces of which can still be seen in today’s texting and messaging features, which later moved and evolved to the 3G network; introduced early 2000s. The 3G network brought about mobile data (e.g. CDMA2000), which provided the core network speeds needed to launch smartphones, androids and it likes. The 3G is the third generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology. It is the upgrade over 2G, 2.5G, GPRS and 2.75G EDGE networks, offering faster data transfer, and better voice quality. According to Wikipedia, this network is based on a set of standards used for mobile devices and mobile telecommunications use services and networks that comply with the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. The 3G network finds its application in wireless voice telephony, mobile Internet access, fixed wireless Internet access, video calls and mobile TV.

After the 3G network, emerged the 4G network, introduced in 2010s. The 4G LTE ushered in the era of mobile broadband, with its high data-transfer rates, gave us video with minimal buffering and gave rise to many of the connected devices and services that we rely on and enjoy today.

However, 4G network is gradually being replaced by the 5G network, introduced in 2019 and people are beginning to experience 5G and its transformative capabilities in countries such as North Korea where it has been launched.

In summary, the 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks all led to 5G, which is designed to provide more connectivity than was ever available before. The 5G network is a unified, more capable air interface. It has been designed with an extended capacity to enable next-generation user experiences, empower new deployment models and deliver new services. With high speeds, superior reliability and negligible latency, the 5G network will expand the mobile ecosystem into new realms. It will impact every industry, making safer transportation, remote healthcare, precision agriculture, digitized logistics and many more, a reality.

According to Qualcomm.com, 5G network is used across three main types of connected services, including enhanced mobile broadband, mission-critical communications, and the massive IoT. A defining capability of the 5G network is that it is designed for forward compatibility; the ability to flexibly support future services that are unknown today.

The 5G network is intended to bring about enhanced mobile broadband. This means that, in addition to making our smartphones better, 5G mobile technology can usher in new immersive experiences such as VR and AR with faster, more uniform data rates, lower latency, and lower cost-per-bit.

Secondly, it will bring about mission-critical communications, which can enable new services that can transform industries with ultra-reliable, available, low-latency links like remote control of critical infrastructure, vehicles, and medical procedures.

Furthermore, the 5G network will lead to Massive IoT (internet-of-things) as the 5G network is meant to seamlessly connect a massive number of embedded sensors in virtually everything through the ability to scale down in data rates, power, and mobility—providing extremely lean and low-cost connectivity solutions.

The 5G network is timely need of the day for better utilization and maximization of the world and its gadgets as it can provide the needed higher speed, lower latency and greater capacity than the present 4G LTE networks. It is one of the fastest, most robust technologies the world has ever seen. As it means quicker downloads, much lower lag and a significant impact on how we live, work and play. 5G speed and other connectivity benefits are expected to make businesses more efficient and give consumers access to more information faster than ever before. Having full access to IoT like connected cars, smart stadiums and advanced gaming, which all rely on 5G the network. Hence, it’s a welcome development to Nigeria and not the “devilish” thing as believed by many who have little or no knowledge about it.

We need the 5G network!

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