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The Latest Developments and Applications in 5G Technologies

Technology Policy Brief #62 | By: Christopher Quinn | July 24, 2022

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Policy Summary

Wireless communications systems use radio frequencies (also known as spectrum) to carry information through the air. 5G operates in the same way, but uses higher radio frequencies that are less cluttered. This allows for it to carry more information at a much faster rate. 5G also works closely with the iCloud to store and retrieve data.

5G is up 100 times faster than 4G (which is the fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology.  The global 4G population coverage was around 85 percent in 2021. 

5G is creating never-before-seen opportunities for businesses and people. Faster connectivity speeds, ultra low latency ( the time lag between a data packet traveling from one data point to another) and  greater bandwidth is advancing societies, transforming industries, and dramatically enhancing day to day experiences.  Here are some examples:

E-Health Services

5G speeds allow telemedicine services to enhance their doctor-patient relationships by decreasing troublesome lag times in calls.  Telemedicine specialists find that they can live anywhere in the world, be licensed in numerous states, and have faster access to cloud data storage and retrieval. 

Energy Infrastructure

The speed and reliability of 5G network connectivity can improve the infrastructure of the United State’senergy sector with smart power grids.  With smart power grids, the energy sector can more effectively manage power consumption and distribution based on need and integrate off-grid technology energy sources such as windmills and solar panels. 

Farming

In rural settings 5G is helping to improve cattle farming efficiency.  By placing sensors on cows, farmers capture data that AI and machine learning can predict when cows are ready to give birth. This helps both farmers and veterinarians better predict and prepare for cow pregnancies.

Smart Cities

Increased connectivity is key to the emergence of smart cities. These cities conceive of improving the living standards of residents by increasing the connectivity infrastructure of the city.  This affects numerous aspects of city life, from traffic management and safety and security to governance, education and more. 

Other Applications

Many other industries and economic sectors will benefit from 5G.  Examples include automotive communication, smart retail, and manufacturing.

Policy Analysis

Greater Speed in Transmissions, Lower Latency, and Greater Connectivity

Speed in transmissions will approach 15 or 20 Gbps.  By leveraging this higher speed, access to files, programs, and remote applications  move more directly without a lag.  Higher data processing speeds will improve productivity across the industries. 

In 5G the latency will be 10 times less than in 4G.  This will greatly result in a more positive UX (User Experience) for everyday users.  Latency is the time that elapses between when a command is given on a device and when the action occurs.

With 5G the number of devices that can be connected to the network increases greatly.  It is anticipated that a common home will have a hundred connected devices sending and receiving information in real time.  In the case of an industrial plant there could be thousands of connected devices.

As a result of the greater number of devices, smart cities will continue to develop. 


Emerging digital technologies hold promise for revolutionizing dairy, from management of the herd to management of the individual cow.

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Two examples of smart cities are smart parking that can help drivers find a parking space and smart traffic management to monitor traffic flows and optimize traffic lights to reduce congestion, while ride-sharing services can also be managed by a smart city infrastructure.


Possible scenario of smart and sustainable mobility in a smart city

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5G and the Access Gap    

Great 5G performance like this relies on the mid-band spectrum that drops off rapidly after just a few miles from a cell tower, so in more remote locations many nomads’ travel through performance will often be nowhere near as impressive – even for years to come. 

To  close the 5G geographical development gap, the  Federal Communications Commission ( FCC ) has established a $9 billion fund to support the development of 5G services in rural America.

T-Mobile is in the lead in the 5G race, Verizon has been ramping up a lot in 2022, and AT and T expects to migrate to 5G more fully in 2023. 

However, while newer flagship phones support most or all of the currently needed bands for 5G, these can be quite expensive. Even if you opted for the high-end Galaxy S20 plus last year, you wouldn’t get support for C-band. This isn’t a huge deal for most people, but if you want to get the most out of 5G, you still need to buy the most expensive phones. Beyond that, there’s still no telling exactly how long it will take carriers to build out their C-band networks.

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