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Definition: 5G


(1) The fifth generation of a product. For example, the Video iPod was the 5th generation of the iPod music player, known as the "5G iPod."

(2) (5 GHz) 5G often refers to the 5 GHz frequency band. For example, the 802.11a, n and ac Wi-Fi versions operate in the 5 GHz band. See 802.11.

(3) The fifth generation of cellular service, superseding 4G LTE. Governed by the 3GPP, 5G will increase transmission speed dramatically and embrace prioritization. As wireless data increases exponentially, real-time content such as video calling and video streaming must be given a higher priority than data on Web pages. See 3GPP.

A potential business disrupter, 5G is expected to become an option for Internet access in rural communities where new cable and fiber installations are costly. In addition, 5G is expected to provide alternatives for users who wish to cut the cable TV cord.

Frequencies, Small Cells and Micro Towers
5G operates in a variety of frequency bands from as low as 600 MHz to as high as 71 GHz. Because high frequencies do not propagate as well as low frequencies, the higher 5G frequency deployments require many "small cells" with "micro towers" mounted on telephone poles. See 5G frequency bands.

5G NR (5G New Radio)
The 5G air interface, which like 4G also uses OFDM modulation, was designed to deliver data rates up to 20 Gbps, enabling individual users to get gigabit-per-second downloads over the air. Wireless virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can become commonplace, and 5G is expected to provide a huge boost for connecting billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Qualcomm is the first to release a 5G NR chip, and deployments are expected in 2019. See OFDM and Internet of Things.

5G, 4G and Wi-Fi
5G radios are expected to operate with 4G cellular, 5G cellular and Wi-Fi, offering a seamless experience for users no matter where they are. In addition, like Wi-Fi, 5G was designed to operate in unlicensed spectrum, which greatly broadens its utility. See cellular generations, millimeter wave and 6Genesis.