For any business either working directly in communications or has been looking into potential business phone systems for their company, a lot of the discourse surrounding mobile communications has been dominated by a single number and a single letter.
The 5G Rollout is currently ongoing, with a huge number of networks having either made commitments to provide fast 5G connectivity across the country or have already launched their 5G networks in select markets.
It is a very important, potentially fundamentally game-changing launch for a lot of businesses even outside of the direct benefits it would provide to telecommunications, but why this is the case requires a quick explanation of what that number and letter actually mean.
What Is 5G?
The term 5G stands for “Fifth Generation”, as this is the fifth incarnation (technically sixth) of a standardised wireless telecommunications technology that has existed in some form or another since 1946.
Technically, mobile phone technology began with 0G, with the first service demonstrated by Motorola in 1946.
However, this was only mobile in the strictest sense; as these units weighed over 35kg, they were typically mounted into cars and other vehicles, which is why such technology is typically known as carphones.
In this original form, carphones worked by having phones connect to an operator manning a switchboard that would handle calls similar to early phone companies.
This lasted as a niche concern until the late 1970s, when the first generation of mobile phones started to emerge, localised to cities such as Chicago and Tokyo.
These phones were analogue, and so instead of using digital transmission as is seen since the mid-1990s, 1G mobiles work closer to two-way radios or walkie-talkies, albeit using a much more complex system.
This too was dispensed with, starting in 1991 with the development of the GSM standard, which became the point that a lot of people and companies started to take notice when it came to mobile phone technology.
The switch to digital technology meant that mobile phones could do far more than just take calls, and the calls themselves would be more feature-filled.
Because it was not basic FM connections, phone conversations were encrypted, at least as far as the point between the mobile phone and the radio mast, more callers could use the network at a time and, most importantly, text messaging and other features beyond calls became possible.
This change would symbolise the shift in focus for mobile phone manufacturers and the operators of telecoms systems, as 3G would expand upon this principle and make mobile internet and voice over IP (VOIP) systems far more possible.
This extended the concept of the office, allowing people to work not only from anywhere with an internet connection but anywhere with a mobile phone signal suitable for accessing the internet.
This would go further with 4G, to the point that in some cases, 4G has superseded more traditional forms of WiFi, and 5G improves download speeds to the point that it is competitive with cable internet, providing as good or better service on the move than when hooked up to an access point.