Top 5 terms to know about 5G

Tom Merritt shares five helpful definitions for a better understanding of 5G technology.

Top 5 terms about 5G

5G is coming my friends; it's going to be faster and--well, a lot faster. A LOT. Feel like you don't know enough about 5G? Here are five terms about 5G you should know.

  1. 3GPP. This stands for 3rd Generation Partnership Project. Despite the three in the name, this is a group of seven standards-setting organizations that organize the rollout of 5G standards and definitions. It's not really 5G until 3GPP says it's 5G.
  2. mmWave/millimeter waves. High-frequency waves in the millimeter band between microwave and infrared that are used to deliver faster, high-capacity data. Be warned: Much like microwaves, they're susceptible to being blocked by buildings.
  3. MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple Output). It's a good old-fashioned technology that lets you send and receive more than one data signal on the same channel by using more than one antenna. It can help increase capacity.
  4. Enhanced small cells. Low-powered cellular radio access nodes that serve fewer users than other nodes over a smaller geographic area. They operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrums from 10 meters up to a few kilometers. 5G needs more antennas, and small cells are one way to achieve that.
  5. 5G NR. The NR stands for "New Radio." This 3GPP standard combines millimeter wave, enhanced small cells, MIMO beamforming and a few other things. It's the 5G standard the 3GPP has blessed, and companies who have started out developing others like 5G TF, or 5G SIG, will transition to 5G NR.

5G does not come without challenges, but that possible user data rate of 1 Gbps sure does make it worth the effort.

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Image: iStockphoto/Michael Borgers