Verizon has been the most vocal about leading the way to a new, super-fast 5G network in the United States. As it promised last year, the company has begun testing 5G, including some pretty interesting uses for ultra-broadband wireless beyond just streaming massive video files.
America's largest wireless carrier has partnered with Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, and Qualcomm to test 5G both in the field and in the lab. While we may lust after faster data transfer speeds to power our mobile gaming and media addictions, Verizon and the other members of the 5G Technology forum are also concerned with becoming part of the backbone for the Internet of Things.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
"The network is going to be designed to accommodate billions of machine-to-machine connections," explains Verizon's Vice President of Technology Planning, Adam Koeppe, in a promotional video (which you can view at the bottom of this article).
Koeppe says speed and that kind scale are just two parts of the three-legged stool of successful 5G; the network also needs to have next to no latency for it to be useful to precision systems like those in self-driving cars of the future or telemedicine systems.
Intel is actively working with Verizon to test 5G systems-on-a-chip that could soon make their way into next generation mobile devices, and has set up a test house to see how the technology performs in the real world. At the same time, Qualcomm has been seeing how a 5G network performs in an office building – the goal is for a connection to such a network to support the simultaneous streaming of three 4K videos with some bandwidth left over.
Ericcson has a test house of its own setup using a Verizon mobile 5G access point on a van outside. Inside the house, the wireless network connection supports 4K streaming on 6 televisions and a series of tablets. Though we can only imagine what Verizon's data prices will be like for those kinds of mobile speeds.
Verizon says it hopes to be the first in the world to get 5G technology into consumers' hands.
"We plan to expand this testing significantly over the next several months," said Koeppe, "We are very much aligned towards implementing 5G technology in 2017." You can watch the full promo video below.