Evolution of Networks
It was in 1982 when the first 1G network came into existence, transforming the way we use mobile phones. I’d rather not get into the history of the development of cellular devices, but fast forward 30 years to 2012, and we’ve moved onto far more advanced networking capabilities, i.e. 4G.
This was considered a massive technological feat back then, allowing us to enjoy Netflix content in a tent in the Rocky Mountains. But now, we’re ready to step into the next generation.
As we’ve all heard, the news that the ultra-fast 5G, aka the 5th Generation of mobile wireless systems, is going to be made publicly available in India, courtesy of the launch of Samsung’s flagship new device; the Galaxy S10 5G. Along with Samsung, there are several other 5G enabled phones expected to launch in 2019.
4G vs 5G – The winner?
Let’s first understand what a 5G network means.
5G is also expected to seamlessly integrate with the Internet of Things (IoT) by opening the doors for more internet-enabled tech like mobile wearables, smart traffic lights, wireless sensors, and car-to-car communication. This will, in turn, improve the security on the roads, as cars which receive GPS data and other instructions will assist in navigation, and also provide drivers with real-time traffic updates.
Are we there yet?
The more important question regarding the adoption of the 5G network system is whether or not we are ready to accept it and reap the benefits in its entirety? Well, for starters, one of the main concerns of the Indian Government will be with regards to spectrum allocation, and the significant capital outlay required to upgrade the existing technology as well as infrastructure, to be fully capable of handling the unprecedented traffic from the ever-growing number of mobile phone and other electronic device users.
In previous years, there have been enormous amounts of consumer complaints about the claims of telecom companies with respect to the speeds ‘promised’. Since there is no concrete evidence that 5G can actually provide such high-speed data transfer, we cannot conclude its authenticity, and it is naturally difficult to establish such results until there is a full penetration in the market.
Another issue relates to migration from 4G LTE (Current network), to 5G (Expected ground-breaking advancement), and mostly on account of the time taking process of replacing older equipment and technology, with new and more suitable equipment. However, on the flipside, TRAI (Telecom and Regulatory Authority of India) has already begun allocating bandwidth for 5G.
Other than the technical bottlenecks, arises the unwanted 2G Spectrum Scam, which resulted in India incurring a loss of a whopping Rs. 1.76 Lakh Crore. Now, this may not have a direct impact on consumers itself, but the telecom industry in the country is still staggering under the consequences of actions performed after the irregularities during the allocation came to light. The methodology was questionable and had forced the Indian Government to take certain steps to prevent a public outcry.
This proved to be ironic and futile since the purpose to avoid the outcry was defeated after the gross misconduct and ended up hurting public interest. This makes it questionable whether India is mentally prepared to accept the gift of ultra high-speed internet.
To make things more upsetting, these may be the reasons why Apple has decided that it will not launch any 5G enabled iPhones before 2020, probably until the allocation has been done swiftly, the equipment is in place, and the public is ready to shell out a hefty payment. But the good news is that along with Samsung, even OnePlus is raring to go, as well as China-based Xiaomi.
Needless to say that the next few months are certainly going to be an uphill battle for telecom operators, and the Indian Government (to allocate the spectrum without any scam), it is an exciting moment in history to use such services. Sooner or later, our nation is going to be prepared for the 5G era, because we’re all hungry for higher speeds, and better connectivity.
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Thank you Yuva members for organising such a fun and informative lecture. We enjoyed it a lot. Meeting and learning from Mihir Sir was really an amazing experience. And this is not only our feeling but all the students enjoyed his lecture very much and look forward to many such events.