“New mobile networks come along once every decade or so. Starting around 1980, the first generation of cellular phones relied on analogue technology. When the second-generation arrived in 1991, the networks began to go digital,” The Economist reports. “By 2001, the third-generation swapped clunky old circuit-switching for efficient packet-switching. Around 2010, fourth-generation networks adopted IP (internet protocol) technology in a big way, providing mobile devices with broadband access to the internet. Each generational change brought new frequency bands, higher speeds and greater emphasis on streaming data rather than simply transmitting voice.”

“Lately, wireless operators have begun wondering what to include in fifth-generation (5G) networks,” The Economist reports. “There is a feeling of urgency as outside heavyweights like Google and Facebook threaten to upset their cosy business. If the mobile carriers can agree among themselves, they hope to have their fifth-generation networks in place by 2020.”

“So, how much of an improvement will 5G offer over the best of 4G? Difficult to say. But given the ten-fold improvement seen over previous generations, an average 5G download speed of 1Gbps seems realistic—with the possibility of up to 10Gbps as the technology ripens with age,” The Economist reports. “Such wireless bit rates are beyond even the scope of the optical-fibre currently used to deliver internet access and high-definition television to the home.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Much potential bandwidth delivers much potential. Death to latency!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David G.” for the heads up.]