Imminent, Or Years Away?
Fifth-generation wireless technology, or 5G, is the next wave of cellular technology and a hot topic in the telecommunications industry. The widely agreed-upon timeline for 5G is still about four years away, but that fact isn't discouraging carriers from beginning field tests and preparing their networks to support the quickest cellular technology yet.
5G will allow more devices to connect to the Internet and, once connected, run at speeds of 1 Gbps. 5G also will use more diverse spectrum bands and more small cells and have deeper integration of virtualization technology. The technology is considered important as more Internet-enabled, or Internet of Things, devices bombard the network.
The International Telecommunications Union hasn't yet put any standards in place around 5G and said it expects the technology to be ready for commercial deployments around 2020. While official standards for 5G are expected around 2018, some carriers are already claiming that the world will be ready for deployments as early as 2017.
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, several telecommunications providers came forward with their test run and deployment plans. Here's where the industry stands on cellular's next generation.