The next big thing for mobile connectivity is 5G but just how good is this new technology exactly and will it be worth upgrading your gear when it’s introduced?

Manufacturer of smartphone tech Qualcomm has just published findings from a 5G network simulation several months in the making and the gains exhibited by the latest wireless technology are exciting.

“Two separate sets of simulations were conducted. The first one, modelled a Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G NR network in Frankfurt, Germany, operating on 100 MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum, with an underlying Gigabit LTE network operating across 5 LTE spectrum bands. The second simulation modelled a hypothetical NSA 5G NR network in San Francisco, California, operating in 800 MHz of 28 GHz mmWave spectrum, with an underlying Gigabit LTE network operating across 4 licensed LTE spectrum bands plus License Assisted Access (LAA) bands. In both simulations, existing cell site locations in Frankfurt and San Francisco were used, where 5G NR cell sites are co-located with actual, existing LTE sites,” Qualcomm said, explaining how the tests were run.

The results

The firm noted an average download speed of 56Mbps for the average LTE user.

With a 5G New Radio compatible device this speed shoots up 900 percent to 490Mbps.

While that is great it doesn’t help if you need to be right next to a 5G tower to get that sort of speed. Assessing the 10th percentile of users Qualcomm says that 90 percent of 5G users would see speeds of at least 100Mbps or higher.

But the real star of 5G tech is the latency. Qualcomm observed download latency drop from 116ms to 17ms when using 5G New Radio technology.

That’s a massive improvement and latency as low as that would be vital in operations such as mining where a person could control a robot rather than risk their own life underground.

There is also good news for streaming. The mobile chipset manufacturer noted that on average 5G users could stream video with an 8K resolution and 10-bit colour depth at 120 frames per second. For reference LTE is only suited for streaming 2K video with a 8-bit colour depth at 30 frames per second.

So when will the world be privy to this tech?

Well Qualcomm hasn’t given an exact date but it appears confident that the popularity of its Snapdragon X50 5G modem will drive adoption forward and by the first half of 2019 we’ll be seeing consumer applications of 5G technology.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.