May 13th, 2013

samsung 5g engineers

Samsung, one of the mobile industry’s biggest players in network and infrastructure, has revealed that it has started work in developing 5G data technology. While a standard for “5G” doesn’t exactly exist, we would naturally expect it to be a vast evolution from what we know to be 4G right now.

Even though 4G didn’t quite start off as 4G, the standards were tweaked to allow carriers to claim as much. Indeed, the speeds we get now far surpass what 3G afforded us, giving us double digit downstream numbers (in megabits) compared to the single digits 3G (HSPA+ not withstanding) was capable of.

We can’t even imagine what the next plateau for mobile data speeds will be, but Samsung believes it can deliver throughput speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second to a device by the end of the year 2020, with a single sub-station able to handle 10 gigabits of bandwidth. We’re not sure if said numbers would hold up after factoring in network congestion, but they’d still most certainly exceed what’s currently possible with 4G.

This would raise an interesting question of chicken vs egg: will Samsung’s (or any other telecom player’s) results shape the standard, or will Samsung eventually have to adapt to a pre-determined standard? That question remains to be answered. In fact, without any standards organization detailing 5G in any official capacity it’s probably far too early to ask.

Seven years seems like a long time to wait for this evolution, but let’s not forget that 4G LTE isn’t even fully developed yet. There are still strides to be made in today’s technology that will improve network performance many times over. T-Mobile’s particular deployment of LTE is the first example of this, with folks like Sprint, Verizon and AT&T suggesting they’ll be making key upgrades to their existing systems over time. There’s a lot to like about this news, but perhaps it’s best we reserve our excitement for what’s yet to come in the short term.

[via Samsung Tomorrow]

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