This year’s only major tech event that was actually held was the 2020 edition of the CES in Las Vegas in January. It was an opportunity for tech companies, manufacturers, developers, and inventors to showcase their latest and greatest – and they didn’t hold back. Among the most interesting gadgets presented at CES 2020, there were quite a few 5G-capable handsets, too: manufacturers ranging from Samsung and Xiaomi to smaller brands like TCL and Alcatel have showcased their concepts and prototypes working with the new and improved mobile network.
With more and more similar handsets popping up all over the place, let’s take a look at what their – and the new network’s – benefits will be for the everyday user.
Better Sound Quality
Have you ever compared the sound quality of a voice call with the quality of a similar call on Google’s Hangouts, for example? Given enough bandwidth, the voice you hear on Hangouts is crystal clear, far better than the average phone call. Some telecoms offer features called “HD Voice”, others have implemented VoLTE (Voice over LTE) to improve their sound quality but these are not universally available.
One added benefit will be a significant decrease in the latency of voice calls. Right now, delays of up to 20 milliseconds can happen when you talk on the phone (try calling someone right next to you to check out how long their words take to reach you) – with 5G, this latency will be reduced to as little as 1ms.
More Simultaneous Users
The more users connect to the same cell (antenna), the less bandwidth is allocated to each connected user. In the past, when large numbers of people (with mobile phones) gathered in a location, the mobile network often became unusable because of the heavy load. The situation improved with 3G and 4G, and it will continue to improve with the implementation of the 5G infrastructure.
On 3G, issues could emerge at around 100-150 users in a certain area using the service simultaneously. 4G could easily handle up to 1000 before significant drops in connection speed (up to 100,000 devices per square kilometer). 5G will be capable of way more than that, ending the issue of overloaded networks once and for all.
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Finally, the one thing that’s easiest to showcase: internet speed. Smartphone users will be able to reach download speeds of up to 1Gbps once the 5G network is fully deployed. This means that you’ll be easily able to stream 4K videos from the web – but most people won’t be doing that anyway.
Downloading apps and especially games will, in turn, become insanely fast over a 5G network. Today, when a great game can have a size of 3 GB or more, it really counts.