5G has been in the works for years. Here are some of the most prominent signs that 5G is poised to roll out this year.

Just this past January, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) released the first version of the 5G standard.

This was an important milestone for the new communication technology since it gives designers and telecommunication operators the details they need to prepare future devices and networks. 

It’s only been just over a month, but already 5G is starting to pop up in the repertoire of device designers and being used for demonstration purposes to get everyone excited. Here are a few examples that demonstrate we’ll be seeing 5G adoption this year.

 

5G Virtual Reality Streaming at Superbowl LII

As both a technology demonstration and marketing opportunity, Verizon Wireless used the Superbowl to stress test its 5G network. 

In the first test, two football players, Matt Forte and Jamal Adams, wore virtual reality goggles while performing drills. Cameras on their helmets streamed video footage over a 5G network, then back to their goggles—the point was to show that the latency over the network is so negligible that star athletes can still perform at full capacity and not be hindered. 

The second test was virtual reality streaming of the game by users in the crowd, and by engineers in New York City. Instant replays and 180-degree stereoscopic viewing could be accessed, demonstrating that the network was capable of streaming high bandwidth, high-resolution images in near real-time.

 


Qualcomm Introduces Snapdragon X24

Qualcomm is expecting devices loaded with the Snapdragon X24 to be released by the end of 2018. The X24 is the first 7nm chip available in the company’s Category 20 LTE lineup. The chip is expected to reach download speeds of up to 2.0Gbps.

This is seen as more of an advancement in 4G capabilities, working towards 5G. Since carriers still won’t be able to provide 5G coverage in the immediate future, this is more like a slow progression toward it.

 

Image courtesy of Qualcomm.

 

Intel to Bring 5G to the 2020 Olympics

In a similar vein to Verizon Wireless's public stunts, Intel is already working on plans to bring 5G connectivity to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Plans include providing live virtual reality streams at 8K resolutions and in 360 degrees, live drone 4K footage, and in-vehicle streaming.

By 2020, 5G should already be a more regularly adopted standard by both carriers and device manufacturers, but having the plans already on paper means that there is a concrete goal to how it will be used.

 

Intel put on a drone show at the 2018 Winter Olympics and plans to have an even bigger presence at the 2020 Olympics. Image courtesy of Intel.

 

Huawei Announces 5G Chip

Huawei announced the Balong 5G01 chip at the World Mobile Congress in Spain just this past week. This is one of the company’s first steps in incorporating 5G into its devices, with a $600 million investment preparing for 5G’s inevitable use in IoT, self driving cars, and mobile networks. 

The chip will be capable of download speeds up o 2.3Gbps and the company has plans to partner with over 30 telecommunication operators to roll out the chip in devices. It is speculated that the first generation of the chips will be used in mobile hotspots.

 

The new Huawei 5G chipset was announced at the World Mobile Congress. Image courtesy of The Verge.

 


 

What application are you most excited to see 5G used in?

 

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