The capabilities of the wireless devices we use every day for entertainment, staying in touch and managing so many other aspects of our daily lives is about to take a quantum leap forward.

The rollout of 5G technology has begun, promising future speeds up to 1000 times faster than the current standard 4G networks allow. That would enable users to download an entire HD feature film to a mobile phone in less than a second.

Available by 2020

And it’s coming soon. Verizon is already testing the technology in Sacramento. “By 2020, experts anticipate 5G mobile networks will be available nationwide,” said Samsung Executive VP Youngky Kim in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

5G would allow users to download an entire HD feature film to a mobile phone in less than a second.

“5G has the potential to dramatically reshape our lives,” he said, “from leisure pursuits to emergency medical treatments. It gives everything — cars, homes, drones, medical equipment — instant access to the internet.” Benefits include allowing 5G equipped vehicles to interact with one another and their surroundings to reduce traffic congestion and prevent accidents. The technology would also allow cities to better manage resources and infrastructure.

Benefits for Cities

“In our water mains, 5G-connected sensors could detect and fix leaks long before a break occurs,” Kim explained. “Intelligent streetlights could direct cars to empty parking spaces. And cities will be able to better track and reduce energy usage, improving air quality and reducing pollution.”

The next generation of wireless could also play a role in how health care is delivered. A post on the online tech site Cnet described how doctors could perform remote surgery using 5G’s advanced capabilities.

Remote VR Surgery

According to the post, “Ericsson, working with startup NeuroDigital Technologies and doctors at King’s College London, used a dummy patient to demonstrate how a surgeon could use a VR headset and special glove to control a robot arm that would perform an actual operation in another location.”

For a more detailed explanation of the technology and the advances it promises, check out What is 5G? The next generation of wireless, explained, at The Conversation.

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