What is 5G?

5G will be the lifeblood of the new economy.Self-driving cars, virtual reality, smart cities and networked rob...

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 5:29 AM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 5:29 AM

5G will be the lifeblood of the new economy.

Self-driving cars, virtual reality, smart cities and networked robots will all be powered by 5G networks someday soon. 5G promises to open the door to new surgical procedures, safer transportation and instant communication for first responders.

It's no wonder the Trump administration is considering a government-funded 5G public utility, according to a report Sunday in Axios.

There's no reason to believe that will happen. A publicly financed 5G project would cost hundreds of billions of dollars. It would be a moonshot unlike anything the government has taken on since it sent people to the moon.

5G is on its way whether the government backs it or not. Major internet companies are far along in their 5G network development, and the first networks will be up and running in the next couple years.

What is 5G?

Like every "next generation" wireless network technology, 5G will give your phone a speedier connection -- about 10 times faster than 4G, industry experts expect. That's enough to stream "8K" video or download a 3D movie in 30 seconds. (On 4G, it would take six minutes.)

The extra capacity will make service more reliable, allowing more gadgets to connect to the network at the same time.

But 5G is about much more than smartphones. Sensors, thermostats, cars, robots, and other new technology will all connect to 5G one day. Today's 4G networks don't have the bandwidth for the vast amounts of data all those devices will transmit.

5G networks will also reduce to virtually zero the lag time between devices and the servers they communicate with. For driverless cars, that means uninterrupted communication between a car and other vehicles, data centers and outside sensors.

To accomplish all that, 5G will need to travel over super-high-frequency airwaves. Higher frequencies bring faster speeds and more bandwidth. But they can't travel through walls, windows or rooftops, and they get considerably weaker over long distances.

That means wireless companies will need to install thousands -- perhaps millions -- of miniature cell towers on top of every lamp post, on the side of buildings, inside every home and potentially in every room.

That's why 5G will complement 4G rather than outright replace it. In buildings and in crowded areas, 5G might provide a speed boost. But when you're driving down the highway, 4G could be your only option -- at least for a while.

Who is building it?

Each of the four nationwide cell phone carriers -- Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint -- are developing and testing 5G network technology. Chipmakers, including Qualcomm and Intel, are building processors and radios that enable 5G communications. And the major network equipment companies, including Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei, are building the backbone and equipment to support 5G.

The research and development alone is costly, but building out 5G networks will be wildly expensive -- even for an industry accustomed to spending tens of billions of dollars every year in infrastructure costs. Rolling out 5G to the entire United States will cost $300 billion, according to Barclays.

The government could spend that kind of money, but it would be getting a very late start. And it would have to contract with the network equipment and telecommunications companies, which are already building and testing their own networks anyway.

A White House official confirmed that a 5G network, as reported by Axios, is part of the administration's national security strategy. The official said the memo reported by Axios, however, is "dated" and "not representative of the administration's thinking," declining to provide further details.

Verizon and AT&T declined comment on the Axios report.

When is it coming?

The wireless industry expects 5G networks to launch in 2020.

This month, 5G cleared a significant hurdle when 3GPP, an international wireless consortium, approved a technology standard for next-generation networks. Next year, the United Nations' International Telecommunications Union is expected to review 3GPP's standard. After that, wireless companies can begin buying and selling 5G equipment with the assurance that it will all work together.

Meanwhile, Verizon and AT&T have made strides in testing 5G networks. AT&T says it will start to roll out its 5G network as early as this year, though virtually no one will be able to use it until 5G-compatible devices land on store shelves. That's unlikely to happen before 2020.

-- CNN's Betsy Klein contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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