5G networks are a thing of the future but to get there researchers have been testing the frequencies on which they’ll have to run. These networks are expected to have download speeds of 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of half that, incredibly faster than anything we have now. 4G networks only offer download speeds between 10 mbps and 18 mbps, with upload speeds between 4 mbps and 10 mbps.
But 5G would work on a high frequency which could cause some problems, according to the MIT Technology Review. The high frequency would mean faster streaming, downloading and connectivity, but as of now the signal would be nowhere near as reliable. The issue is that waves on frequencies that high are short, leaving them open to easy obstructions and interruptions, writes the Review.
Measuring the waves and monitoring them to see how the work in various weather conditions requires equipment that is expensive and fragile, not exactly the best characteristics for instruments researchers need to be able leave in the middle of a snow storm.
So AT&T researchers developed large weatherproof instruments that can do the measuring, and spread them around AT&T’s campus in New Jersey in the fall. What they’ve found is that they need to do more research essentially, research engineer Bob Bennett told the Review. But that every day events like rain and truck traffic are enough to disrupt the waves. And since our networks don’t exist in a vacuum apart from such variables like weather, more work will need to be done to figure out the best way to make 5G something we can use without losing a connection every time the wind blows.
3G speeds weren’t ideal for streaming or downloading much more than a message or loading an simple web page. They worked at speeds of 145 kilobits per second, and it takes 1,000 kilobits to make one megabit, which is what speeds are measured at now.