Qualcomm is about to give us our best glimpse yet into the 5G revolution

Qualcomm is about to give us our best glimpse yet into the 5G revolutionDo you want to know what 5G wireless technology is going to look like? Qualcomm might be a good company to ask. The maker of mobile chips, best known for the powerful processors that serve as the brains of high-profile smartphones like the Google Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9, this week is holding its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui. Given Qualcomm’s role in propelling the 5G ecosystem into reality, the event offers one of best opportunities to see what the rollout of 5G will actually look like. The three-day event kicks off Tuesday, and that first day is solely dedicated to 5G news. (Given the name of the event, it’s inevitable that you’ll hear the latest Snapdragon chip news later at the event.) Qualcomm is expected to set up live 5G networks and allow reference devices to run on them so people can experience what the hype is all about. Expect to hear from the chip giant and partners like Samsung and Verizon, which have said they’ll launch a 5G smartphone in the first half of next year. Already this year, Verizon has launched a variant of 5G as a home internet service , and in early 2019 it plans to begin a standards-based mobile service. Ever since Verizon said it’d be the first major telecom company to deploy 5G field tests three years ago, the hype for the technology has been building. Beyond a big speed boost, 5G has been referred to as a foundational tech that will supercharge areas like self-driving cars, virtual and augmented reality, and telemedicine services such as remote surgery . But what exactly is 5G? Why are people so excited? The following is a breakdown of why the next generation of wireless technology is more than just a boost in speed, and why you should be excited. What is 5G? It’s the next (fifth) generation of cellular technology, which promises to greatly enhance the speed, coverage and responsiveness of wireless networks. How fast are we talking? Think 10 to 100 times speedier than your typical cellular connection, and even faster than anything you can get with a physical fiber-optic cable going into your house. (In optimal conditions, you’ll be able to download a season’s worth of ” Stranger Things ” in seconds.) Is it just about speed? No! One of the key benefits is something called low latency . You’ll hear this term a lot. Latency is the response time between when you click on a link or start streaming a video on your phone, sending the request up to the network, and when the network responds and gives you the website or starts playing your video. That lag time can last around 20 milliseconds with current networks. It doesn’t seem like much, but with 5G, that latency gets reduced to as little as 1 millisecond, or about the time it takes for a flash in a normal camera to finish . That responsiveness is critical for things like playing […]

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