FCC Votes To Open 11 GHz Of High-Frequency Spectrum For 5G

Tomorrow's next generation networking technology, known as 5G, has yet to be given an established standard by the mobile networking groups. The technology, which is reckoned to be capable of running around ten times quicker than current 4G networking standards, is considered to be of paramount importance to the developed world in the coming years and although the standard has yet to be set down, government agencies across the world are already planning for its roll out. Today, it was the turn of the United States of America's Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, to make an official announcement regarding 5G or fifth-generation networking.

The FCC has unanimously voted to open up significant spectrum for tomorrow's networking - it has unlocked 11 GHz of high-frequency spectrum destined for the new standard. This is claimed "will provide vital clarity for business investment in this area." In other words, whilst we still don't know the makeup of 5G networking, when it arrives there will be space already available in the US' airwaves. We have already seen a number of carriers around the world deploying 5G network trials, including the two largest carriers in the US, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, both committed to running 5G network trials next year and are intent on deploying 5G networks in 2020. America's third and fourth carriers, T-Mobile USA and Sprint respectively, are also planning their own 5G trials.

Although it is not clear how 5G network technology will work, the FCC is expecting it to have a considerable impact on America's everyday activities. FCC Commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, is quoted discussing some of the benefits to 5G including smart home appliances cooperating with other items to populate shopping lists for example. It is not clear where the boundaries lie between 5G and the IoT, or Internet of Things. IoT is the name given to the huge numbers of interconnected and online devices, which will rely on existing and future Wi-Fi and cellular networking standards. One scenario that the FCC believe that 5G and IoT technologies could be used to create smart city systems by for example installing sensors into street furniture such as streetlights, signs and even trees, where sensors will be able to report weather and pollution details to help city and traffic planners. However, the US is not the only country forging ahead with 5G research and development: South Korea is aiming to have 5G networking deployed by the time they host the Olympics in 2018, with Japan aiming to have its own networks operational by 2020 and when it also hosts the Olympics.

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David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.
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