5G and Beyond

5G: As Close as You'll Get to a Jet Pack!

Maybe you know, or even are, one of those annoying people who -- whenever there is discussion of how technology is advancing or changing lives -- pipes up with the oh-so amusing comment: "But where's my jet pack?"

Well, I'm here to tell you the next major advance in mobile technology, 5G, is actually as close to a jet pack as most of us are going to get for the foreseeable future. And that future will be held in the palm of your hands.

Which is why we're launching this Light Reading 5G site. Light Reading and Heavy Reading have been covering the early evolution of fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology for a couple of years. But now we've reached a crucial stage in the development of 5G, and we can start to look ahead to the commercial drivers and business cases for the next big thing in wireless.

At its base, 5G is expected to deliver data speeds over-the-air that are tens to hundreds of times faster than today's 4G networks can produce. 5G should also offer incredibly low latency, reducing communications delays over networks to below a millisecond. On top of that, 5G networks should cater to a wealth of different types of devices, from tiny sensors to luxury cars.

This is why I bring in the -- admittedly flippant -- jet pack reference. If 5G delivers what the industry is actually promising, the technology could be fundamental in helping to create new markets. From self-driving cars, to virtual reality, to remote surgery, to business and consumer robotics. The ability to change how we live, in other words.

But a lot needs to be solidified and sorted out before any of the crazy futuristic stuff really takes off. And it's entirely possible that some of the more outlandish predictions of the power of 5G will never actually materialize.

So that's why this site exists: Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown and I -- along with contributions from relevant mobile operators, vendors and industry associations -- will track the evolution of 5G -- with an experienced eye on the prospective pitfalls of developing and deploying a fresh, new technology. But also with an awareness of the potential that 5G could have the ability to revolutionize wireless, perhaps in ways we haven't even envisaged yet.

I hope you'll contribute and comment as the site grows. After all, it's going to take a knowledgeable and diverse community of people to develop and sell 5G.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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