Simultaneously, standards bodies are working on universal 5G equipment standards. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) approved 5G New Radio (NR) standards in December 2017 and is expected to complete the 5G mobile core standard required for 5G cellular services. The 5G radio system is not compatible with 4G radios, but network operators that have purchased wireless radios recently may be able to upgrade to the new 5G system via software rather than buying new equipment.
With 5G wireless equipment standards almost complete and the first 5G-compliant smartphones and associated wireless devices commercially available in 2019, 5G use cases will begin to emerge between 2020 and 2025, according to TBR projections. By 2030, 5G services will become mainstream and are expected to range from the delivery of VR content to autonomous vehicle navigation enabled by real-time communications (RTC) capabilities.
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In the United States, there are already some networks being developed in select cities. Currently, Verizon is offering MM wave 5G at certain locations in select cities, including Atlanta; Boise, Idaho; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Detroit; Houston; New York; Providence, R.I.; and Washington, D.C. As time passes, Verizon will add more cities to its 5G network, such as San Diego and Kansas City, Mo. T-Mobile's 5G network includes locations within Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York.
A phone or another piece of hardware can't just get a software update on a 4G phone to enable 5G. 5G requires specific hardware. To be able to utilize 5G, a user must have a device that supports 5G, a carrier that supports 5G and be within an area that has a 5G node within range
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