• APPA Intern / Daniel Hong

The Evolution of Data: 5G


Since the beginning of the development of wireless mobile cell phones in the early 1940’s to the first deployment of these cell phones by Motorola in 1973, the gradual advancement of an age full of technology was evident. Alongside the rise of cell phones was a surge of data usage to accompany the overall performance and function of these devices. Data is globally defined as binary digits read by a computer to translate it into a form for transmission and processing that comprises all technological devices. Specifically, data in cell phones can be labeled depending on the generation it was created: first, second, third, and fourth. Therefore, data was initially 1G in the 1980’s, or the first generation, but gradually shifted towards 2G in 1991 then to 3G in 2001, and currently, 4G/LTE, or the second, third, and fourth generation, respectively. Each generation refers to the mobile network technology that allows the compatibility of cellular devices onto the Internet. Moreover, as generations advance, the speed at which one is able to accomplish tasks using the Internet is exponential as researchers develop ways to further increase the capacity of data usage. Thus, equipped with the statistic that the nation’s GDP increased by almost $100 billion with the implementation of 4G, the introduction and accessibility of the newly acclaimed 5G data networking could advance how human beings apply technology and utilize it to its fullest potential.

Explanation of 5G:

Essentially, 5G is the fifth generation in line right after 4G LTE, meaning it is hypothetically superior to all other generations as of right now. Furthermore, 5G is regarded as a broadband network, meaning it is a high-capacity transmission process that utilizes a large variance of frequencies, enabling large amounts of messages to be sent simultaneously. Because of its power, 5G could be used to power autonomous cars in the future and acts as a stepping stone into the field of deep learning, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Thus, as 5G begins to surface from an idea into an everyday application, the potential of 5G can be endless.

Benefits of 5G:

Due to its superior communication rate to networks, its speed will be considerably faster, the latency will be significantly lower, and the bandwidth will be immensely higher. Furthermore, 5G will be capable of increasing download speeds up to 10 gigabytes per second, or 10,000 megabytes per second, while 4G LTE is only able to download applications at 1 gigabyte per second. This means that a device with a 5G connection is capable of downloading a full HD movie within a few seconds while also providing faster load times and minimal buffering with its highly reduced latency. Additionally, 5G networking’s accessibility will be far greater than that of other generations due to the mechanism powering the data: antennas. These antennas are able to be embedded in various locations, such as windows, buildings, and vehicles. Alongside these modern locations is also a method of allowing farms to be up-to-date. Moreover, the same antennas used in a modern area could equally be installed in rural regions on objects, such as tractors and barns, to also increase productivity in farms, as noted by the Administrator of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service Jonathan Adelstein, an advocate for rural involvement. Combining the incredible speed and vast locations it can be placed, the implementation of 5G throughout the nation will have drastically positive effects on education, environment, and healthcare. As a result, the economy is guaranteed to boost up dramatically within the following few years of its addition. In fact, according to the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research, “Investing in and building a 5G network will generate $533 billion in US gross domestic product and $1.2 trillion in long-run consumer benefits from these broadband wireless services.” In addition to this, this new area of the broadband industry can create many new jobs for people, especially for minorities. The new jobs will likely be highly diversified from hiring minorities, veterans, and women, as noted by an informational panel addressing 5G. Furthermore, this increase in employment for minorities will mainly be due to the sheer difficulty of this field, and the raw experiences a person with a differing background holds, such as a veteran.

Potential Disadvantages of 5G:

Although there are evidently many advantages to 5G data, there are some prevalent disadvantages for installing such a system. The first problem that immediately comes to mind is the fact that the implementation of the network of antennas will cost billions. In fact, based on a study in July 2017 done by Deloitte, “...it will require at least $130 billion over the next seven years in fiber investment to make the country fully ready for 5G.” Another problem was addressed by Sarah Oh, a Research Fellow at the Technology Policy Institute, when she stated that, “[the] biggest issue will be the democracy side of things, where everyone will have to agree with one another.” Therefore, the major issue regarding this system is not necessarily the idea, but the actual implementation of it into the country. Because the nation is a democracy, everyone must comply with the changes, while in contrast, in a communist country where citizens’ thoughts do not have any power, this would not be of any concern. Furthermore, this is a pressing issue because the power of 5G will be directly proportionate to the quality of the infrastructure it is connected with. This increase in upgraded infrastructure will rely on service providers to make the decision to advance the current infrastructure, which demands both state and local governments to stimulate the process of regulations and deployment.


In summation, the recently announced 5G data network connection will be another leap into the world of technological advancements with the many positives associated with it, such as its significant increase in speed and its application in rural areas. Alongside these benefits are some disadvantages, notably, the total cost for building the proper infrastructure and the overall time allocated to get each state’s consent. The development of data into the crucial fifth generation of 5G will be the guide to progress towards a future revolving around technology.

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