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The 5G Status in East Anglia…

5G marks the immense potential for the next generation of mobile connectivity, but not all is rosy in with this coming service. Alongside this positive potential are massive caveats, some of which might mean East Anglia won’t see the service for some time.

What is 5G?

The term 5G refers to the fifth general of mobile connectivity which debuted in 2019. This technology expands upon the existing systems in various ways, the most important of which relate to bandwidth and latency.

Bandwidth is the term given to the quantity of data which can pass through an internet connection at any one time. Latency refers to how fast a signal can make a return trip between the client and the host device.

For most users, it is the bandwidth end of this equation which has been the most important, as higher bandwidth means a smoother experience for video and audio streaming.

What About East Anglia?

As it stands, East Anglia will receive no 5G upgrades in 2019. The potential upgrade dates in 2020 are currently unknown. This is not without reason, and mobile users can rest assured, this probably won’t mean any trouble for most people.

The current major hurdles for 5G implementation come down to cost and coverage. A major flaw in 5G connectivity comes from how little range a single 5G tower can offer. Unlike a 4G tower which can operate at a distance of up to 40km in ideal circumstances, current 5G antennas don’t offer much range past the 500-meter mark.

This means covering large rural areas for 5G would require an immense investment and disturbance of land.

East Anglia FLIRT” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Albert Koch

In terms of current general use, most East Anglian’s don’t use highly demanding video or game streaming service on the go anyway. Current 4G connections are almost always enough to perform the job perfectly, and in some cases, even this can be overkill.

For example, the average player who wants to play slot machines online like The Price is Right or Gonzo’s Quest will very rarely if ever run into bandwidth issues. Games like these are small, any don’t require instantaneous reflexes, and as such 5G networks for their operation is entirely unnecessary.

Similarly, most people who watch high-quality video streams will do so from their home TVs and on a wired internet connection, so again 5G connectivity is hardly required.

5G Funkstandard” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Christoph Scholz

Combined, these aspects make it clear that while 5G will see a future in major urban areas, its use in rural areas will be limited. This is a pattern that the mobile network has seen before, as older generations of connectivity are still often used for years or even decades after they first appeared.

So maybe don’t go out and buy a new 5G phone just yet. While these will undoubtedly be incredibly useful in the future, at this point they are still very much wanting. 4G isn’t going anywhere for a long time, and your current device’s connectivity should have no problem keeping up for the next few years.