The next generation of wireless technology, 5G, is still in the early stages of definition, but is receiving increased visibility, as the number of wireless-enable devices expands from mobile phones to mission-critical devices and the emerging Internet of Things (IoT). Carriers and manufacturers envision 5G as a standard that continues to advance data speeds for mobile video and fixedwireless devices, while also providing connectivity for the massive number of IoT devices – two very different network demands. No matter how 5G will ultimately be implemented, higher data-rates, more capacity and many more connected “things” will be parts of the wireless future. The emerging definition of 5G envisions dramatic performance improvements in network capacity, mobile connections, latency, cost, data rates and coverage.
The transition from 4G to 5G will be very different from prior transitions. 4G represents the first global wireless standard and wireless carriers have only recently invested considerable capital to acquire spectrum and build out and support their 4G networks. On the other hand, the continuing evolution of the wireless environment will force carriers and device manufacturers to “push the envelope” and deploy 5G technologies as quickly as they become viable. For the forseeable future however, 4G will serve as the dominant network technology, with 5G serving as supplementary service.