If you think 4G is fast – and it certainly is, under the right circumstances – then 5G is going to blow you away.
Due to begin beaming across the Aussie airwaves in 2020, 5G is so insanely fast that it challenges the definition of the word.
The boffins beavering away on 5G in laboratories and research bunkers around the world suggest 1Gbps if you're near the centre of a 5G cell, with a peak data rate of 10Gbps – although on the edges of the coverage zone this could drop to 100Mbps.
In real world terms: you could download the final episode of the Star Wars sequel trilogy (due for release in December 2019) in under a minute, or – more likely – stream it in 4K ultra-high definition with nary a hiccup.
But 5G isn't just about hyperdrive downloads. It's being built less for people than for the 'Internet of Things': the vast connected web of household systems and appliances such as air conditioning, security systems and digital thermostats, and 'smart dongles' such as fitness trackers and health monitoring bracelets.
Networking company Cisco projects there will 50 billion devices connecting to the Internet by 2020 (that's more than six devices for every person on the planet).
5G is also ideal for self-driving cars and virtual reality headsets which require not only scads of bandwidth but lightning-fast response times.
And as 5G will be borne into a world that's more mobile than ever before, engineers hope to make the network so efficient that reduce battery drain on smartphones, tablets and other devices to provide as much as five times the life of today's 4G kit.
Stockholm is set to flick the switch on the world's first 5G network in 2018, with Telstra and Vodafone are both eyeing 2020 for the start of local 5G services.
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