By RICHARD MACMANUS
Last updated 05:00, March 26 2018
OPINION The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment last week released a discussion document for 5G, the next generation cellular mobile technology.
Among the issues raised in the document is how 5G will be rolled out in New Zealand and what the societal impacts will be. In particular, there are health concerns about the increased number of cell towers – estimated to be double the current number – that will be required for a 5G network.
We saw a glimpse of what 5G hopes to deliver last week, when the first “live trial” was conducted by Spark.
Communications Minister Clare Curran was the first to test it. She got a download speed of 9.3 gigabits per second, which equates to 9300 megabits per second. That’s 46 times the maximum speed I can get on my current ultrafast broadband package at home, which clocks in at a measly 200 megabits per second.
What’s more, 5G could end up being twice as fast as the speed Curran got. The specifications for 5G technology, which are still being worked on internationally, aim to reach a peak data rate of 20Gbps. That would be a 20 times increase from the current 4G generation.
As well as being super fast, 5G will have much lower latency – which means no delays or freezes when streaming high bandwidth media like videos and games.
5G is being marketed as the required infrastructure for next-generation technology. The MBIE paper highlights “self-driving cars, increased use of robotics and industry automation, and massive machine type communications (the internet of things).”
But hold your horses; this 5G future won’t arrive in New Zealand until at least 2020. Plus, there are a couple of contentious issues that must be addressed before 5G is approved….SNIP
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