RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There’s a battle raging in the air and you can’t see it – it’s the battle for 5G technology.
5G stands for fifth-generation wireless and Raleigh is one of the first cities to have 5G wireless — but what will it mean to you?
For one thing, it’ll mean super-fast data transfer to and from our cellphones, but it will do much more than that.
Cellphones have gone through quite an evolution, from devices that could just make calls, to ones that could also text, to sending pictures and sharing videos to smartphones of today that are loaded with apps.
5G will be as radical a change as all the previous innovations were years ago.
It all starts with the network that big telecom companies are vying to install.
Residents will start to see 5G transceiver or micro-cells pop up all over Raleigh because AT&T is the first to roll out limited 5G service in this area.
As other companies join in, the networks will grow, but so will the micro-cells which will be just about everywhere outside.
Here’s why: 5G works differently than current cellphone technology.
It uses high-frequency waves to support faster speeds, but those signals don’t travel as far as the current cellphone wireless signals.
So, instead of relying on large cellphone towers spread far apart, the 5G network needs “small cell” sites that are much closer together so signals can reach devices that use 5G.
“That will become the primary way we’ll connect at home, through our phones, and through our other devices,” CNET editor Dan Ackerman told the CBS morning news.
Because 5G will be virtually uninterruptible, it’ll allow the “internet of things” to grow — meaning bigger and better smart homes as well as self-driving cars.
The speed and reliability of 5G will also allow autonomous vehicles to talk to each other — avoiding collisions.
Samsung says it’s also developing other 5G technology, including ways to get cars to talk back.
“If there is an accident two miles down the road, with the power of 5G that information is going straight to the network from the infrastructure and straight to my vehicle and I’m getting alerts right here on the dash,” said Samsung’s Adam Kuhn.
From hospitals to education, much of the promise of 5G tech is limitless.
“When we went from 3G to 4G we enabled all new apps including Uber, Air BnB, live streaming on Facebook. Those things did not exist without 4G,” said CNET’s Roger Cheng. “We couldn’t even conceive of those apps before it happened. With 5G the promise is apps that have not even been figured out yet.”
But that promise comes with a cost.
“Who’s gonna pay for the connection for your car, your washing machine? These are all things we’ll have to figure out,” says Ackerman.
A recent survey by PWC consulting says the average monthly increase people would be willing to pay for 5G service would be: $5 more a month for home internet and just under $4.50 a month for mobile internet.
Although there is limited 5G rollout in Raleigh, there’s not a phone on the market yet that can even use 5 G, but they are coming in late 2019.
The full rollout of 5G nationwide could take years.
Right now, there are still parts of the country that doesn’t have 4G service or even broadband internet.