When 5G arrives in force, it won’t just be for you. It’ll be for the robots, too.
Or maybe more precisely, for you and the robots working together. That was the point of one of the demonstrations Thursday at Verizon’s 5G lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a knee-high humanoid robot trundled up and down several steps and along the length of a wooden platform. It’s a scale model of a person-size robot intended to help rescue people trapped in life-threatening situations.
You may have heard that 5G networks are fast, but there’s more to it than that. They’re also all about low latency — getting rid of the lag time that can make 4G and older networks stutter or just not be up to high-intensity tasks.
“With 5G, the robot and the operator can communicate instantly,” said Yan Gu, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
But 5G, like that little robot, still has a lot of growing to do.
The next-generation wireless technology is only now just starting to find its way into the real world. In the US, Verizon and AT&T, the nation’s two biggest wireless carriers, have switched on mobile 5G networks in only a small handful of locations. Sprint just turned on its network in four cities this week, right about the same time that wireless carrier EE became the UK’s first 5G provider.
Verizon customers looking to experience the zippiness of 5G right now will have to head to Chicago or Minneapolis, and then find the right street corners — plus buy one of the very few 5G-capable phones out there at the moment. By the end of this year, you won’t have to look quite so hard. Verizon plans to double the coverage area in those two cities, and also drop 5G into 30 additional cities. (In addition, the company has a 5G home service in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento, California.)
CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt tested the performance of the Chicago network with a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and found it “insanely fast.” She downloaded Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — 10 hours of 4K footage — in less than 5 minutes, and the nearly 2-hour movie Wine Country in just over 8 seconds, blowing away a 4G phone working on the same tasks.
More than speed
There’s a lot more to 5G than giving you instant gratification on your phone.
“If the only thing we could do with 5G is faster downloads, we’ve missed the boat,” Nicki Palmer, Verizon’s head of product and technology development, said at the demo Thursday. “5G needs to be different.”
The bigger goal, Palmer said, is to enable whole new experiences — in education, for instance, transporting someone who’s studying glaciers to an actual glacier via virtual reality or a holographic experience that’s not possible today.…Read More>>>