TECH TALK: High speed 5G mobile internet racing towards us

A Smart phone with 5G network standard communication.
A Smart phone with 5G network standard communication.

Higher speed than ever, 5G is under development and will change mobile internet yet further, as Graham Walker has been finding out.

As 4G networks still try to operate across the UK, the race is already on to develop the next generation of airwave connectivity.

This next generation is, not surprisingly, called 5G and scientists say it’ll change the way we operate on the move forever.

Its development has been brought about largely due to the increasing number of inanimate objects that are now communicating with us; home heating, connected kitchen appliances and our lighting systems - The Internet of Things, as it is branded.

The estimated speed of the 5G network is claimed to be as fast as 800Gbps. Currently 4G can download a film in 10 seconds, this new speed is equivalent to downloading 33 high-definition films in a single second.

So, hopefully, an end to app installation fails, streaming video not quite living up to its claims and load signs appearing for far longer than they should. One day, our kids will read in history books about how we not only had a landline, but that it took us actual seconds to download music.

There are estimates that well over 50 billion connected devices will be connected by the year 2020, so it isn’t just a higher speed that’ll be needed but more airwave and frequency capacity ensuring each device has a clear connection. And this is why we’re having to wait for this new 5G network; our airwaves are in a mess.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) are restructuring the radio networks used to transmit and receive data to allow these increased speeds, but they also have to allow current 3G and 4G networks to operate, and this balancing act between old and new is no mean feat.

And let’s face it, the landline is dead. Those days of trying to prise the receiver from a talkative teenager are gone. Adults, too, appear to have have hung up on the home phone.

More than a third of people actively ignore it because they know it will be a junk caller. One in ten don’t even bother to plug the thing in.

Just one person in five uses their landline for regular personal calls, and more than half only keep the line because we need it to access the internet.