Internet Speeds March Onward: Goodbye 3G, Hello 5G

AT&T Says It Is Phasing Out 3G

Telecommunications giant AT&T (T) has shut down its 3G wireless network as of yesterday, indicating this will make room for an improved user experience. AT&T executives say the focus is now investing in and improving the 5G network.

For devices that don’t have at least 4G capability or higher, data and voice service are longer supported on the 3G network. All devices that have an internet connection are potentially impacted by this. Smartphones immediately come to mind, but anyone with an older-model flip phone could also face disruptions.

Explaining the Upside of 5G

As 3G fades into history, the next wireless internet chapter is arriving in the form of 5G. Experts explain 5G represents a major jump forward in terms of wireless communication, including connection speed. Mobile capacity and data rate will improve significantly, with 5G considered 10 to 50 times faster than older cellular networks.

Still, connection speed is considered by some to be less important than 5G’s latency, or ultra-fast response time. The technology makes it possible for a system’s response time to be 250 times faster than humans. Analysts predict that as means of production become more efficient in this manner, innovation becomes more common across industries.

Now 6G Is On The Horizon

5G has not been fully implemented across the US, so while it may seem premature to start discussing 6G, research is underway. Telecom firms have their hands full at the moment rolling out 5G, and the next generation is certainly years away. Even the term 6G isn’t set in stone, but it’s a sort of working title in the tech world.

Some industry experts estimate the network that comes after 5G will be around 100 times faster. One researcher predicts data transfer speeds of 1 terabyte per second, which would grant the ability to download nearly 142 hours of movies in seconds. It can be a bit difficult to fathom some of these speeds and new capabilities, but the future has arrived — for now — in the form of 5G.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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