Zigurd's Guide to 5G

5G is a new set of mobile wireless technical specifications, for both phones and the telephone network. There is a constant stream of news and trade press coverage of 5G. A lot of it is hype. Some is outright dishonest.

The theme of many of these often suspiciously similar articles is that 5G is going to transform everything, just like 3G, and LTE 4G were supposed to. Instead of the hype, here you can find what to expect in reality, what is wishful thinking on the part of the telecom industry, and why telecom service providers and equipment makers are promoting some unlikely fantasies.

Cutting through the hype

While there is some high quality information out there, much of it is cautiously worded when describing challenging, expensive, or dubious aspects of 5G. And those skeptical descriptions of 5G are not easy to find. That's the purpose of hype: It makes it difficult to find sober assessments.

Despite the hype, 5G will bring better mobile devices and a better mobile network. There are three main reasons 5G is better:

  • 5G introduces a new radio technology that makes more efficient use of radio spectrum

  • The network behind those radios will be faster and have lower latency

  • 5G enables using more of the radio spectrum

Not just one thing

5G is not one thing. Parts of it are revolutionary. Parts of it are a mundane improvement.

There are two main, and several minor, variants of 5G that have different costs, results, and timelines for becoming realized. Because these differences are tied to fundamental capabilities of the 5G radio, they are so different they could easily be considered different generations of wireless technology. It is confusing to label them 5G. That may be intentional.

Let's jump in

Here you will find the reasons 5G will improve the mobile experience. A good place to start is to look at the 5G New Radio.

About the Author

Zigurd Mednieks is a a technologist with decades of experience that includes speech recognition, GUI architectures, user interface design, telecommunications systems for enterprises and infrastructure, mobile apps, sensors, digital radios, and other technologies. He has built and led engineering teams, defined and shepherded product creation, and kept investors out of trouble while leading them to successful outcomes. He has authored top selling books, published by major technology publishers, on mobile software development that have been translated into several languages. You can find contact information for Zigurd at, of course, zigurd.com.