Do we really need 5G wireless

Who should look forward to 5G - and who shouldn't

The milk can is quite worn out. Research Minister Anja Karliczek said in an interview with Reuters last November: "5G is not necessary on every milk can". A saying that sounds as aloof as an air taxi in Germany's many zero-bar connections. Since then, everyone has been demanding the fifth generation of the mobile communications standard, 5G, at all jugs from the Alps to the North Sea.

"We need 5G on every milk jug," says Development Minister Gerd Müller, General Manager of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities Gerd Landsberg, the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet, the parliamentary leader of the Greens in the Bavarian state parliament Katharina Schulze, or the Bund der Deutschen Landjugend . So pretty much everyone who is not called Anja Karliczek.

But do you really need 5G in every corner of the country? In this focus, we want to show what the new mobile communications standard can do, for whom it makes sense and why scientists are warning about 5G rays.

More and more speed

"You are on the Heise-Verlag experimental WAP server." This is how welcomed mobile phone visitors in September 2001. You could then see the Cebit demo from the iX editorial team or the heise news ticker. The iX is still there, as is the heise news ticker, but Cebit and WAP have suffered a bit since then.

At that time, mobile phone owners could surf the GSM network (2G) at a maximum of just under 0.01 Mbit / s. 18 years and three generations further: 5G base stations later promise 10 Gbit / s for mobile users. A huge increase over the data retiree. Anyone who remembers back then is in a frenzy of speed.

However, mobile phones will not make full use of 5G so quickly. The first 5G networks will be based on 4G and will not reach maximum speed. Only with independent 5G systems are 10GBit / s actually possible.

Little benefit for mobile users

But what do today's mobile users get from the new standard? After all, LTE (4G) could bring a maximum of 1 Gbit / s for mobile users. The sobering answer: not much yet. LTE is completely sufficient for normal internet applications on the smartphone, including 4K streaming.

However, augmented reality applications should benefit from low latencies of less than 1 ms with 5G and insert the virtual objects more smoothly into the camera image of the real world. In addition, 5G could become the basis for new, sophisticated multiplayer games on smartphones. The first mobile phones with 5G will probably be available for sale in the course of the year and affect the manufacturers' top smartphones.

3 ... 2 .... 1 ... My frequency!