There’s a wide belief that the coming of 5G Next-Gen networks will change everything. It will impact every provider in every industry and touch virtually every person in the world.

Many think today’s 4th generation wireless networks—with 4G LTE download speeds of more than 16Mbps— are fast. But tests show download speeds of 1Tbps (terabyte per second) over mobile networks are possible.

All the elements are coming together. Major players like Google, ComCast and AT&T are laying the fiber backbones in hundreds of American cities. These will provide the platform for 100 Gigabit-per-second (Gb/s) network speeds. Many major cities across the country are already up and running on 100 Gb/s in areas where Google, AT&T and many regional providers have expanded the fiber optic infrastructure.

Not only in America, the coming of 5G will be a worldwide event. Chinese manufacturer Huawei announced last year plans to roll out a 5G network by 2020. London mayor Boris Johnson also plans to have a 5G infrastructure in place in time for the 2020 Olympics.

An Eager Market

These “Giga-Cities” are already looking for ways to take advantage of larger bandwidth to market upscale services such as Web Real-time Communications (WebRTC) for mobile devices, which will connect users and services at real-time speeds over streaming video and Cloud-DVR. This service promises to revolutionize how we consume video by delivering streaming video content to our favorite mobile devices.

The growing market for interconnected devices—in everything from home management and security to health and fitness to entertainment to emergency services—will be empowered by the faster speeds and greater bandwidth.

Growing the Technology

These changes won’t be easy or happen overnight. Industry experts are still working to overcome technical obstacles, which are expected to become more complex as the device base continues to move from PCs to mobile phones and tablets…and beyond.

Important security and interworking considerations still need to be addressed as well.  Enterprises and service providers need to be alert to network security. New software and hardware is being developed to bridge the technology gap between old and new systems.

The Next Level

Speeds in excess of 100 Gbps are possible over these new fiber networks. But for most of us, the fiber backbone stops far from our houses.

There have been major investments in the past few years to bring fiber to every home, but what about those last few feet to your computer, TV or game system? In laboratories right now at Oxford University and MIT, there are working systems that could deliver the power of fiber right to every Internet-connected device in your home. New high-speed Infrared Radiation (IR) data streams between electronic devices already on the market can provide a wireless data connection with a speed of up to 5 Gbps at a range of up to 30 meters.

There’s also light-fidelity (Li-Fi) technology, which can use household light sources to provide PCs and other devices with a potential for data rates of 3 terabits per second and up. (Wi-Fi, by contrast, tops out at about 7 Gb/s.)

In other research by the University of Texas El Paso and the University of Central Florida, light was used to successfully transmit data across a computer circuit board at speeds thousands of times faster than the wire traces currently used. It’s believed that this technology will contribute to a new generation of supercomputers.

The coming of the 5G networks and 100 Gb/s data speeds are not the end. In fact, they will only power greater advances in a Brave New World of Internet of Things. As they roll out, you can count on Lenovo Companion to keep you updated on the newest, latest and greatest. So stay tuned!