Verizon Shows the Shape of 5G to Come

Dan Jones
9/3/2018
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NEW YORK CITY -- At a special preview held at its 5G incubator in New York City last Friday, Verizon's focus was not just on the raw speed of upcoming mobile broadband services but also on some of the practical applications enabled by the next generation wireless technology.

Verizon is promising to launch 5G standards-based fixed-wireless, residential broadband gigabit-per-second speeds in four cities in the US later this year. That service will allow users to download movies in seconds and support multiple users on one 5G connection. However, this is only the start for Verizon. (See Will 5G Be a Cord-Cutter's Dream? and Indy Is Verizon's 4th Fixed 5G City.)

Early in 2019, it plans to deploy 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) -based standard 5G NR to support mobile devices on the network, a move that will involve a software update to its existing sites powered by technology based on its own 5GTF variant. Those updates will take place as 5G-capable smartphones start to arrive on the market. (See Verizon Confirms Mobile 5G in 'Early' 2019.)


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As you'll see in the photos below, however, Verizon's ambitions for 5G extend well beyond consumer smartphone services: It's already planning for remote surgery, gaming applications, and the ability to manage vehicular and foot traffic in smart cities at a level never seen before.

Click on the image below to start a short slide show.

5G Hits Chelsea
Verizon showed off its '5G Incubator' -- based in a loft in Chelsea -- to Light Reading Friday. The space is set up to educate universities, developers and companies about what 5G can do, while helping Verizon to work out what people want from the new technology.
Verizon showed off its "5G Incubator" -- based in a loft in Chelsea -- to Light Reading Friday. The space is set up to educate universities, developers and companies about what 5G can do, while helping Verizon to work out what people want from the new technology.

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Many of these applications rely just as much on low network latency (1-2ms on 5G, compared with 50ms or more on 4G) as brute speed. Since 5G provides a fat pipe that can connect almost instantaneously to the cloud for compute power, the client device -- be it a camera or a gaming device -- may not need much horsepower of its own, just a 5G connection.

Of course, that will put the onus on Verizon to deploy 5G networks (and the supporting fiber transport network) as soon as possible, as some of these new services can't be enabled with upgraded infrastructure. (See Driving Low Latency: VZW Prez Talks 5G Apps & More and A 5G Device Timeline for 2018 & Beyond.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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