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Definition: 5G

(1) (5th Generation) The fifth version of a product or system.

(2) (5 GHz Wi-Fi) The 5 GHz frequency band used in various Wi-Fi versions (see 802.11 and 5 GHz band).

(3) (5th Generation cellular) The fifth generation of cellular technology. 5G supersedes but is compatible with 4G LTE. Governed by the 3GPP, 5G dramatically increases transmission speed and embraces prioritization. As video calling and streaming increase exponentially, real-time content must be given a higher priority than Web pages. A potential business disrupter, 5G is intended not only for mobile phones, but for in-home Internet access, especially in rural communities.

Frequencies, Small Cells and Micro Towers
5G transmits in a variety of frequency bands from 600 MHz to 71 GHz (see 5G frequency bands). Because high frequencies do not propagate as far as low ones, high-band 5G requires many small cells with antennas mounted on utility poles rather than at the top of high towers. In an urban environment, a 5G antenna might be only a few feet from an apartment window (see electromagnetic hypersensitivity). See 5G radiation.

5G NR (5G New Radio)
The 5G air interface uses OFDM modulation as does 4G, and it was designed to deliver data rates up to 20 Gbps to enable gigabit-per-second downloads over the air. Qualcomm was the first manufacturer to release a 5G radio chip, and in late 2018, Verizon was the first carrier to deploy in-home 5G. Phones employing 5G emerged in 2019. See OFDM.

It Will Take a While
5G is also expected to provide a huge boost for connecting billions of IoT devices (see Internet of Things). In addition, 5G may make wireless virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) commonplace. However, nationwide service with the same penetration as 4G is expected to take several years. See cellular generations, millimeter wave and 6Genesis.