5G technology is about to start changing your life in drastic ways. You have been hearing that for months, but how can a faster internet speed change your life?
The fifth generation of wireless internet is about more than speed, but it starts there. It's estimated that 5G will be many times faster than the 4G technology powering your smartphone.
With 5G, you will probably be able to create a 3D image of yourself and virtually walk through real-life environments that you can't now, and it will be done wirelessly.
Just imagine driving through a smart city where all the traffic lights are communicating with each other, and with your smart car, to speed you through green lights right to your destination.
So, what do you need to know about 5G now? And how much will it cost?
How fast is 5G?
If you think about a connected city, like the one Microsoft founder Bill Gates is envisioning in Arizona, you might have a feel for the speed of 5G. There will be entire cities where street lights are smart, cars are smart, robots are performing tasks that are too dangerous for you and who knows what else is coming.
But the nitty gritty comes down to numbers. 4G on its best day is speeding along at about 100 megabits per second. If you're watching Netflix on your phone, for example, you know 4G itself is incredibly fast.
It's so fast that we don't think about it. But how many photos do you take every day that you share on social media in seconds? That's 4G. How many videos do you watch on your smartphone? Dozens probably, thanks to 4G.
Yet, as impressive as 4G speeds are, they pale in comparison to 5G. Those speeds will be about 10 gigabits per second - that's 10,000 megabits per second, many times faster than 4G.
When can you get 5G?
If you think you're missing out on 5G, you're not. You are not alone if all the commercials you see for 5G make you think everyone has it and you don't.
But the marketing hype for 5G is just that, for now anyway. 5G is a complicated technology and it will take years to fully roll out.
That's due in part to a couple of factors. First, manufacturers have to make and sell 5G smartphones. They're coming, but they're just starting to be introduced. Cellphone providers have to make 5G available to you, too. More on this in a minute.
Second, 5G radio frequency waves are much shorter than 4G's miles-long signals. So, where you now see cell towers scattered around your town, 5G transmitters will be placed all over your city on everything from light poles to traffic lights and more.
Now, back to cellphone providers. Both Verizon and T-Mobile plan to have 5G available sometime this year in about 30 cities. AT&T is up to around 10 cities and counting.
How much will 5G cost?
You can start thinking about paying an extra $10 or so a month for 5G. That's what Verizon plans to charge customers when it starts rolling out 5G next month.
Time will tell how much you'll end up paying as more 5G features become available. What do you think - how much would you pay for 5G?
There's been so much talk lately about 5G coming in 2019. Compared to 4G, 5G is 20 times faster. It's also going to revolutionize communication. In this episode of Consumer Tech Update, Kim looks at the impact 5G is going to have on our technology and it's more than just faster speeds on our smartphones.
Does 5G technology increase our health risks?
You have reason to be concerned about the upcoming 5G technology that'll give you super-fast wireless speeds on your smartphones. That speed comes at a price, specifically higher radio frequencies that could be bad for your health.