Several parts of the world are already enjoying 5G services, and recently India has become one of them. The commencement of 5G services was inaugurated in October 2022, and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) believes that within a span of 2–3 years, the entire country will enjoy 5G connectivity.
With 658 million active internet users and a 47% internet penetration rate, is 5G the answer to feeding the ever-growing crowd in our nation? Read on to find out all the necessary details pertaining to 5G and stay ahead in this digital transformation.
What Is 5G?
Succeeding a long line of mobile telecommunication technology that includes GSM (2G), UMTS (3G), and LTE (4G), 5G is the 5th generation cellular network. A more software-driven technology, 5G promises an enhanced user experience with maximal responsiveness and speed.
How Does 5G Work?
4G LTE provides the understructure for 5G, which uses less cluttered high radio frequencies known as millimeter waves (mm waves) for transferring information at a faster pace. Due to its exorbitant cost and inaccessibility, this technology was shelved for public use, but 5G has made it a reality.
5G utilizes small cell stations placed on building roofs or light poles compared to 4G, which depends on high-power cell towers for radiating signals over long distances. The radio frequencies used by 5G are efficient for traveling short distances and often get blocked by weather and physical obstacles. To counter this issue, MIMO (multiple input, multiple outputs) antennas will be implemented, amplifying the capacity and signal coverage.
Networks And Cities In India That Will Receive 5G
Reliance Jio invested the most in this venture, with an amount resulting in Rs. 88,078 crores. It bought 24,740 MHz of bandwidth and also bagged the most efficient and coveted 700 MHz band along with the 1800 MHz band. Reliance was followed by Airtel, which bought 19,867.8 MHz of bandwidth at a price of Rs. 43,084 crores. Vodafone and Adani Group have also purchased relevant shares of bandwidth in the 5G auction.
Reliance Jio and Airtel have already launched their 5G services in 13 cities, which include Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai, Gurugram, Jamnagar, Mumbai, Pune, Lucknow, Chennai, and Ahmedabad. At the moment, the 5G service will be rolled out in a layered manner and can only be accessed by selected users. Vodafone is yet to launch a timeline for its 5G services.
5G Sim And Tariffs
Changing sim cards can be quite a hassle, and you may lose your valuable contacts in this process. Keeping this fact in mind, both Jio and Airtel have promised that one can use their 4G sim to operate on the 5G network but will require a 5G-enabled phone. The companies are yet to set up 5G tariffs but have assured to keep rates affordable for the common people with the desire to increase the rate in the long run.
5G In Daily Life
The hype around 5G has led to the question of how 5G is going to affect the daily lives of the masses. Some key areas where 5G is going to provide a transformative experience are:
A report from Ookla shows that the speed on the testing network reached more than 800 Mbps. This means you can download movies and stream on OTT platforms without any buffering. Things that once required minutes can now be achieved in seconds.
This is one of the unique technological elements that no other cellular network has been able to provide earlier. As 5G’s infrastructure is more aligned with software than hardware, telecommunication companies can custom-build slices of autonomous networks for their clients. These autonomous networks can be easily tinkered with according to the needs of the user in almost every field, including coverage, speed, capacity, security, and encryption, among many others.
The latency rate for 4G is around 20-30 ms, but for 5G, it is less than 10 ms, and in some cases, it just takes 1 ms. Large volumes of data can be transferred within a minimal time frame, which makes usage of 5G very suitable for technology that requires real-time access, like IoT.
Multiple heterogeneous devices can be connected at the same time using 5G networks. Due to high bandwidth and low latency, users will be able to enjoy seamless connectivity, which in turn will help to increase overall productivity.
Roadblocks In Adopting 5G
The 5G network also comes with its fair share of disadvantages, which can take quite a toll on the hype it has created.
At the moment, 5G has rolled out in only a handful of cities. It will take quite a long time to be available in remote parts of the country. As the cost of infrastructure is quite high, it can discourage telco companies from making huge investments in remote areas.
Though 5G has a tremendous download speed when compared to 4G, it lacks in the department of upload speed. It can also cause some heating issues in the devices, as claimed by many reviewers already enjoying 5G outside India.
As 5G is a software-driven network, it is more prone to security breaches and vulnerabilities. Companies who are willing to implement this network will have to carry extra expenses out of their own pockets to maintain adequate security measures.
Where other networks prior to 5G were mostly about upgrading the internet speed, 5G will revamp the overall structure of the telecommunications industry along with the user experience. Yes, it is true that 5G has many shortcomings, like most new technologies, but in the future, its efficiency and benefits will outweigh its downside.