5G: What It Is, What It Isn't, And What It Could Be

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uglyduckling81

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Let's worry about getting a decent coverage of 4G before thinking about 5G.
I live in the 3rd largest city in Australia and my house is only covered by one company's wireless. Officially I'm in a coverage area for some alternatives but only one provider has a tower in range to make a phone call.
We had a complete monopoly of the phone industry in Australia until about 1999-2000 and it's taking time for things to change. It doesn't help that the government sold all the infrastructure with the company when they privatised the industry. It has lead to extremely anti competitive behaviour from Telstra. Logging a fault with a provider which is leasing from the Telstra network results in very slow tech response. We don't need new technology, we need wide spread current technology from multiple providers.
 

Vosgy

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A lot of Australia's issues are with the very strict regulations, Telstra (and other telcoms) has to lease out it's hardware to all competitors at a greatly reduced price, as a result Telstra and all other phone/internet providers don't want to spend any money on infrastructure as they just have to lease it out to their competitors at a greatly reduced cost. Why spend money so your competitors can get better as well? It is a great example of over regulation, and it makes me understand why there where a lot of Americans that where worried about what the FCC was going to do in their country.
 

NightshadeRC

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There is a flip side to the 4g in Australia, when you do get it it's a hell of a lot quicker than what you guys get in the US. 4g on my phone nets me 40-60Mbps.

The funny part is that some of the cheap plans still have 200MB monthly limits. 30 seconds and your out for the month.
 

mrmez

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I thought Telstra only had to sell it's land lines, not mobile spectrum.
Optus sell their mobile spectrum tho.

Either way, I've got ~100Mb/s down on 4G, so unless 5G makes more efficient use of the spectrum.... how will 5G be better?
 

Vosgy

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The mobile networks are regulated much less and there is much more competition in the mobile market in Australia. This can be best seen with you getting 100ish Mb/s on 4G, where the average fixed line home internet in Australia is 4Mb/s. The problem with the fixed network is it was all owned by the government when it was a nation asset, when Telstra was sold Mobile was no where near as big and the infrastructure owned by Telstra was much smaller, allowing for others to break into the field. The heavy regulation on fixed infrastructure was to allow others into the market, it has prevented any real development of the infrastructure for around the past 15 years (to the point where the government has to intervene). If Telstra (or any other provider) was the only Mobile provider in an area they have to allow leasing to allow people choice, even if it isn't real choice. Assuming Another company even wants to lease it with all the bother that can cause.
 

PaulBags

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%90 of the reason I own a smartphone is something to do on the bus commute. I see major roads where the network drops out, spotty page loads that require constant refreshing until they work, 3g that's lightening fast, 4g that can't load facebook; and I'll even drop to EDGE in a 4g zone a handful of times a month.

To me this implies a low density of towers, some struggling already with capacity or connecting at 4g when they're actually too far/weak to be effective. And/or poor tower hand offs at 50kph. And/or poor backhaul. And/or routing issues (facebook being particularly bad even while other sites load snappy).

I hope 5g can address some issues, to be easier & cheaper for carrier to impliment so that unlike 4g they actually do it right & build networks that actually work.
 

Jalapenoman

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If they were able to keep the latency and bandwidth similar to 4G, then they could use the new tech to expand coverage. Everything in life has tradeoffs, they just have to find the right balance.
 

uglyduckling81

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Yeah but you live in Winnipeg so it's not worth.
My wife is from Winnipeg and I got married there. If I never had to go back I would be happy. For some reason my wife keeps talking about going back to visit her family and show of the kids all the time though.
Hopefully the next time I go it won't be in the middle of winter because going from 35 degrees to -20 degrees over the course of a 25 hour plane trip is brutal.
 

dogofwars

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5G could be good for backhauling the 4G network. Optimizing the backhaul is really difficult because of the fiber you have to install and permit from city and very time consuming etc.. That make the logistic a lot simplier and faster to implement. It would be better for rural internet service as well without redesigning the whole system. It's transparent to the customer anyway.
 

dogmang

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People forget that each generation has been a completely different technology:
1G = analog
2G = frequency shift keying, similar to early telephone-line modems
3G = CDMA
4G = OFDM
5G = ?? (no new transmission technology on the horizon)

Note that MIMO is not really a transmission technology. It's just a way to use multiple antennas. 3G and 4G beam forming aren't that different than MIMO, and nothing really stops MIMO from being used with 3G or 4G.

So without a new transmission technology, I'm not sure there will be a need for a new generation. They will probably just make evolutionary improvements to 4G. No need for a revolutionary new generation that breaks compatibility with 4G.
 

gio2vanni86

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I've waited for a long time for this. Now its finally here! If its under $10 i will sooo buy it, even if its $1500. Literal Reality is truly revolutionary!
 

kaleb_zero

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Not to sound paranoid, but has anyone stopped and thought about the potential health hazards of exposing entire populations to millimeter wave radiation 24/7 (albeit still on the non-ionizing side of the spectrum but creeping a lot closer to the 'ionizing' side).

Just sayin', wouldn't want to live next to one of these towers!
 

Kadathan

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It's a good thing you can't see everything in the air right now, or you'd be pretty freaked out. Pretty much everything you have is giving off waves, if you can't trust the classification of the energy around you then you have a lot more to worry about than 5g.

All the pollutants in the air, the sun causes cancer, ambient asbestos fibers in rural areas, this is stuff that I'm a lot more worried about than millimeter waves. That being said, I probably wouldn't buy a house next to a tower, but I wouldn't buy a house next to a windmill either.
It's simply not best to think about this sort of thing, because there's a pretty huge disconnect between how we think about things and how things actually are.
 

CamoSutra

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I'll echo @uglyduckling81, and I live in the U.S. While I supposedly get "4G LTE" coverage at my home from Verizon Wireless, coverage nearby is spotty -- even nonexistent in a few small areas that I travel regularly. Too few cells, I suppose. But I'll quickly add that VZW and the other wireless providers are busy adding to their networks, and I'm sure coverage here will be more solid in a year or two.
 
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