Future Tech

How New 5G Networks Will Deliver Terabit-per-second Performance

Brad Merrill 26-03-2015

The mobile industry is beginning to experiment with new 5G data technology, and the results are mind-blowing. Some early tests have achieved 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) speeds — enough to download 10 full-length feature films in under a second. Seriously.


Fifth generation mobile data networks will eventually replace our current 4G technology What Is 4G, And Is Your Mobile Really Getting 4G Speeds? [MakeUseOf Explains] This ads will tell you that 4G is awesome. Fast as lightening, or a motorbike, or a race car. But what does that mean in the real world? Is a 4G phone really going to... Read More , which operates at a comparatively slower 15 Mbps. It’s expected to revolutionize mobile technology as well as the Internet of Things What Is the Internet of Things? What is the Internet of Things? Here's everything you need to know about it, why it's so exciting, and some of the risks. Read More (IoT), and it’s just five years away.

Why 5G?


Mobile data use is expected to blow up over the next few years. From smartphones and tablets to connected cars and smart home devices, there will be more things connected to the Internet than ever before. Our current 4G networks won’t be able to support the Internet of Things at scale. 5G, on the other hand, could theoretically manage connections for 7 trillion devices — meaning everyone on Earth would have to have around 1,000 connected devices to overload the network.

Beyond that, 5G networks will be more energy efficient Energy Saving Tips For Buying & Using Electronics Electronics make up a significant portion of your household energy costs. Computers, printers, and WiFi routers alone account for around 25% of your electricity bill. While electronics are becoming more efficient, their increased use offsets... Read More , saving up to 90% power consumption compared to current systems.

And yes, it will be fast. If speed is your concern, in just a few years you may be inclined choose a wireless 5G connection over a wired connection. We’re talking about something thousands of times faster than anything currently available wirelessly.


“We have developed 10 more breakthrough technologies and one of them means we can exceed 1Tbps wirelessly,” Professor Rahim Tafazolli, director of 5GIC, told V3. “This is the same capacity as fiber optics but we are doing it wirelessly.”

To be fair, these speeds were achieved in a test environment over a distance of 100 meters — so it’s unclear precisely how much of that performance will scale. However, it’s safe to say that it will be much faster than anything we’ve used before.

The Technology

The next-generation networks will utilize multiple input multiple output (MiMo) technology, which utilizes a set of small antennae to manage each individual data stream. Each user is served by a separate antenna, which alleviates the problem of cluttering the available radio spectrum with many competing devices: each antenna will talk to only one device.

In the past, obstacles and distance have caused problems for wireless connectivity. But the FCC and major industry players have found hope in a high-energy spectrum colloquially known as “millimeter waves,” due to their high frequency. In the 24 gigahertz range, signals could be effectively bounced around obstacles.


Potential Hurdles


The industry has a few hurdles to overcome if it wants to make 5G tech a reality.

One such issue is the availability of spectrum. The amount of spectrum allocated to 5G will determine the speed of future networks based on the technology. For 5G networks to reach the speeds that proponents are promising, operators will need significantly more bandwidth. According to Computerworld, the World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva this November will be the first step to solving that problem. Operators hope the conference, organized by the International Telecommunications Union, will set aside spectrum for 5G, enabling the next-generation service.

It’s also imperative that 5G networks be developed to be more inclusive than previous protocols. For example, 4G wasn’t developed to handle the types of traffic that it handles today. With the growing popularity of wearable tech 6 Upcoming Wearable Devices Compared: What's Hot and What's Not I present to you six of the more interesting and useful wearable tech devices either on the market, or soon to enter it. Read More , smart home devices, and Internet-connected vehicles How Self-Driving Cars Will Change Transportation Forever As we move into 2015, the question is no longer whether self-driving cars will replace manually driven cars, but how quickly they'll take over. Read More , the industry has had to adjust the technology to optimize it for a variety of new applications. With 5G, the goal is to be all-inclusive and ready for everything from day one.


“You don’t want to be too late to understand that some part of the network is breaking down when all the cars in Germany are depending on it,” said Eric Kuisch, technology director at Vodafone Germany. Professor Rahim Tafazolli, director of the 5G Innovation Centre at U of Surrey, concurs

“An important aspect of 5G is how it will support applications in the future. We don’t know what applications will be in use by 2020, or 2030 or 2040 for that matter, but we know they will be highly sensitive to latency […] We need to bring end-to-end latency down to below one millisecond so that it can enable new technologies and applications that would just not be possible with 4G.”

With everything from gaming to connected cars Here's How We'll Get to a World Filled With Driverless Cars Driving is a tedious, dangerous, and demanding task. Could it one day be automated by Google's driverless car technology? Read More depending on 5G, near-zero latency will be a must.  That kind of performance would even enable wireless virtual reality glasses Why Virtual Reality Technology Will Blow Your Mind in 5 Years The future of virtual reality includes head, eye and expression tracking, simulated touch, and much more. These amazing technologies will be available to you in 5 years or less. Read More that stream experiences directly from your PC, without nauseating latency.

Are You Ready?

The applications of 5G technology are endless. It’s going to shake up the telecom industry and enable all sorts of new innovation.  Are you excited about 5G networks? What applications do you see for such high-speed and low-latency connections? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons


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  1. Kevin Buchs
    March 31, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    This article is bogus. 1 Tbps single transmitter/receiver would require wireless carrier frequency of at least 2 Tera Herz. That frequency is no longer going to propagate as a radio wave even if you could get the electronics developed to be able to create oscillations at that frequency. The cited professor must be using parallel tramisssion. He is doing it using a laboratory setup and the rack of equipment is not going to fit into any device you would want to carry around any time soon. In 5 years will we see any of this? No way. Just a professor trying to make a name for himself.

  2. Anonymous
    March 27, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Oh good, now we can all blow through our data caps in a fraction of a second!

  3. dragonmouth
    March 26, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    It's all well and good that the technology is here but at what extortionate price will it be offered to the consumer by Verizon, et al.

    • Chinmay S
      March 28, 2015 at 3:30 am

      New technology always comes with a price. If you want 5G at a price of 3G that is not possible.

  4. Robert Turner
    March 26, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    A company in the US is currently manufacturing wireless chip's that are capable of 5G-100G, with full encryption, and near zero latency. I know because I work for them as a licensing and marketing expert in the IT new technology division. They currently sell these to several federal agencies and have full patent production, and we are very interested in new applications for this product in the commercial market. If you or any of your readers have questions, shoot me an email regarding this technology. It's closer then you think! Exctiting times!

    • Charlie Grayte
      March 29, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      This sounds interesting. What's your email?

    • Mario
      April 2, 2015 at 1:24 am

      Call me? *Exciting

  5. Maff
    March 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    "will eventually replace our current 4G technology, which operates at a comparatively slower 15 Mbps"
    I'm on a comparatively slow network (Three UK) and I get 25Mbps indoors!