The 5G Hype Is Inexplicable to Me


The more I read about 5G – supposedly the next coming of internet-connection-Jesus – the more I’m like, “Do they really expect the UX for this not to suck? Terribly?” I just saw an article discussing the millimeter-wave spectrum that makes this stuff work, and the beam gets blocked if a person walks between the transmitter and the device. Seriously.

In order to get around this problem, they are having to form and track countless beams and look at the reflections of the beams off of every object in the environment to try to maintain a connection outside of controlled conditions… and one of the supposed benefits of this is that it’s going to save electricity! What in the heck do they think is going to power all that tracking and processing, unicorn giggles?

4G is bad enough, dropping out if you walk into the wrong part of a building. 5G is going to require in incomprehensible amount of very densely-packed infrastructure all over the place to even work, let alone have a good experience.

How is it that people think this scheme is going to work out?

Comments (16)

16 responses to “The 5G Hype Is Inexplicable to Me”

  1. jaboonday

    I imagine that there are many people out there stuck in a predicament similar to mine -- I live in a neighborhood where the only option for high speed internet is Comcast, and if I want to get a better deal on my internet, well guess what? I'm out of luck. There's no competition for them here. CenturyLink is available for local phone service, but they don't offer high speed internet in our neighborhood. It's not like I live in the boonies - I'm in a Houston suburb, and in neighborhoods nearby, they have more options.

    So if someone comes along and says they can offer high speed internet without worrying about who owns the cables running to my house, well I'm going to be really excited about that because it gives me options. So yes, I'm really looking forward to the potential benefits of 5G in forcing these internet providers who have managed to gain exclusive contracts in some areas to compete, just like it should be in a "free" market.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to jaboonday:

      Agreed. I do kinda live in the boonies, and only have access to horrible DSL.

      However, I get amazing speeds on LTE. The main problem is overall monthly usage.

      I look forward to being able to pay T-Mobile the $100 a month I pay to CenturyLink for essentially unlimited tethering.

    • evox81

      In reply to jaboonday:

      Yep. Fixed wireless broadband... I see this as the main draw of 5G in the short term. Unlike the 3G to 4G transition, 4G today is mostly satisfactory for how people actually use it on their mobile devices. But 5G has the possibility of bringing home broadband competition and that's huge.

    • jules_wombat

      In reply to jaboonday:

      Yep the Cable and Internet providers need some more competition, and give us an alternative choice. So 5G will help reduce Internet costs

    • HellcatM

      In reply to jaboonday: Sounds good in theory but we'll have to see how it really works out.
      The questions I have is it going to be secure? Am I going to have to go wireless for everything even my tower PC or can I get it wired? I'm a gamer, how is the ping going to be? Is it going to be low enough to play games or is it going to be high? How is 5G going to react in areas that have a lot of people? Is it going to slow down? Is signal going to drop? How much will it cost to upgrade in areas that have high usage and they see the tower they have can't keep up? We see how it is with cell phones. These are greedy companies that will try and nickle and dime people, you see it with cell phone service now, how is it going to be when you're basically using a cell tower for your home internet? This could become a bigger mess than you expect. You think things will get better, but will they? Or will just a whole new set of problems pop up that will be a headache for us?

      • evox81

        In reply to HellcatM:

        There will be growing pains for sure, but just to be clear: No one will force you to get these services. Comcast won't suddenly go out of business just because AT&T lights up another 5G market. For the foreseeable future, wired service will continue to be the option for people who want the best performance and reliability. They're just going to have to contend with more competition than they currently have, which could mean they actually get off their asses and try a bit harder. As for the wireless companies trying to pitch themselves as the saviors of the average consumer... They're going to have to prove themselves.

  2. wunderbar

    the "sexy" part of 5G is that millimeter wave stuff for sure, but that's only one part of the standard. Just like how there are parts of the LTE Standard that are barely implemented that were equally as "sexy" when the 3G to LTE transition was being planned.

    And besides, the fancy parts of 5G aren't actually really meant for mobile phones. Those are more for stationary high power radios that would say, serve home internet situation. what we see on phones of the future won't be that technology. It'll still be faster than the LTE we have now, but you won't see the multi-gigabit maximum that the higher end of the 5G spec theorizes is possible.

  3. jimchamplin

    But where did they find room for all of the Gs!?


  4. Patrick3D

    The only group that seems to be hyped are cellular companies drooling over a future where every appliance in your home (refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, etc...) has a mobile broadband chip built in so they can charge you per-device fees for all the previously "dumb" devices that will now require firmware and security updates to remain functional. Ads and spam on everything with nuisance reminders when you are running out of supplies. The only thing I am looking forward to is the ATSC 3.0 rollout which is supposed to begin next year but is unrelated to 5G. I would like to be able to tune in my local PBS station once again, OTA, for free.

  5. Oasis

    What is the range of the transmission for a Home type broadband setup for 5G. I heard that they would have to have many more sites for this to work properly. Where I live there are very few(1) poles to attach any transmitters. Everything is underground. We have Uverse but the only other option is satellite. So, I am also interested in any competition this might invite.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Oasis:

      It will be of more use in more rural areas, where putting in the last mile(s) of underground cable are too expensive, areas that are currently served by satellite broadband with modem / ISDN backhaul.

      Our local Telekom/T-Mobile (Germany) business representative lives out in the countryside and he has 1mbps DSL + 16mbps LTE for home broadband, because that is the best Telekom can manage in his area.

      The amount of concrete and metal in built up areas will mean that high speed 5G is hard to implement at first, due to having to have 10x the number of antennas, compared to 3G and 4G.

  6. HellcatM

    I'd personally like to see a carrier get 4G done right before going to 5G. I mean there are places I go that all carriers suck. Figure out how to make good service everywhere then make 5G not just tolerable service. We get charged a nice chunk of change and still have areas that get dripped calls or can't get internet, WTF is that? So they'll bring out 5G and it'll be crappy, and in 8 to 10 years later they'll bring out crappy 6G that'll suck. Figure out how to make an inexpensive mini tower to fill in gaps in your coverage area that's what they should do.

    • wright_is

      In reply to HellcatM:

      5G has a much wider spectrum, from slow and low power to extreme high speed. IoT needs the former, houses without cabled broadband need the latter. Phone with 5G (speed) might be nice in the long term, but I think they'll be staying on 4G for a while to come, as the antenna requirements mean that you can't really move around with them at the current state of development.

  7. hassan_timite

    Well, my main concern with 5G is related to potential health issues. Are they sure that with the exponential increase of antennas and radiation there won't be any issue related to people health ?

  8. Lauren Glenn

    Didn't this same hype come about with LTE? The thing that seemed to have slowed down that rollout were the plans. They said, "you can blow through your data cap in 30 minutes." I think 5G is nice.... I'm not going to rush out and get a 5G modem out of the gate... but then I used to have a home WiMax modem back in the day with unlimited internet. That worked relatively well. Although Clear would throttle you if you used too much data.... really hard too.... I was getting dialup speeds for a while there instead of their normal speeds. Before I get excited.... I want to see the data plans for 5G first.

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