Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Samsung announces new tech and a promise of 5G by 2020

4G is so passe, said Korean giant Samsung on Monday. The company said that it has developed new core technology that makes 4G data transmission look like it's running at a snail's pace. The new 5G technology runs several hundred times faster than current 4G networks, the company claimed.

The new 5G technology operates in the millimeter-wave Ka band, with what Samsung said is the world’s first adaptive array transceiver technology. Samsung executive vice president and head of digital medial and communication R&D ChangYeong Kim said:
The millimeter-wave band is the most effective solution to recent surges in wireless Internet usage. Samsung's recent success in developing the adaptive array transceiver technology has brought us one step closer to the commercialization of 5G mobile communications in the millimeter-wave bands.
Samsung's new technology has apparently overcome issues caused by transmitting data over long distances. The core system, the company said, is able to transmit data in the millimeter-wave Ka band at a frequency of 28GHz at a speed of up to 1.056Gbps to a distance of up to two kilometers.

Samsung said that subscribers to future 5G networks will be able to see speeds several hundred times greater that 4G networks and "practically without limitation." The company even said that subscribers would be able to send and receive ultra high-definition (UHD) content and games without limitations or streaming issues.

Of course, it's true -- if one wants to be perfectly honest -- that today's so-called 4G LTE technology isn't 4G. The ITU -- or International Telecommunication Union -- which sets these standards, originally said that first-generation LTE networks (i.e., what we're seeing rolled out now) were not 4G. The ITU later bent to to industry demands and softened its statements, saying:
Following a detailed evaluation against stringent technical and operational criteria, ITU has determined that “LTE-Advanced” and “WirelessMAN-Advanced” should be accorded the official designation of IMT-Advanced. As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as “4G”, although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed.
The true message was that carriers wanted to call their networks 4G, so we decided to let them do so. Notably, at the time, T-Mobile and AT&T called -- and still call -- their HSPA+ networks as 4G.

While 5G sounds great, if wireless carriers continue to cap data use, all it will mean is that subscribers will reach their cap quicker.  A key to all this will be for carriers to provide higher tiers -- or no cap at all.

All that needs to be done at a reasonable price, or else reliance on wi-fi will still be a primary method for smartphone and tablet owners to get their data.

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