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The 4G transition is just nearing completion, but leading innovators are already talking about 5G. And of course, it is going to be better and more fabulous than anything that has gone before.

The “G” stands for generation. In this case generations of connectivity. What sets a generation apart from a mere upgrade is that the technology advances so greatly that it is incompatible with the old system. 1G was the first generation, that was the analog world. 2G was the first generation of digital cell phones. Each generation has relied not only on new technologies, but also on new code. Our current 4G world is based on WiMAX and LTE. 5G will probably be based on OFDM.

The whole point of 5G promises to be capacity and latency improvements. 4G was about speed. This will be completely different because it won’t be about how fast a single device can communicate with the internet, but how many devices can communicate.

5G promises capacity and latency improvements

Capacity increases can make automated transportation a reality. Think about how different it would be if all of the cars were connected. Imagine what that implies, they could be aware of all of the other cars, and there is no reason to stop at cars, bikers and pedestrians can have the same visibility to the system by carrying a device. This allows traffic to be coordinated, and solves the Google Car problem in which it can get stuck at busy intersections because it lacks the judgement to push through. With 5G, all cars can be driverless and system protocols will manage traffic congestion, hopefully better than we do today.

5G is also going to address the latency problem, which means that a doctor in Paris really could remotely perform an operation halfway around the world.

Is it all a bit vague? A bit nebulous? At the moment it certainly is. But, one thing is certain, life will be different in a world where everyone and everything is wired. 5G can make that happen.

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