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Were you puzzled as to what the benefits of 5G were? Why bring 5G when we barely realised what 4G is?

Is Safaricom getting ahead of itself with this technology? Who benefits from the 5G network?

In the past, society relied on different ways to pass their messages from one person to the other.

From using smoke signals in ancient history, our ability to transfer data through the air has evolved over the past four decades.

Today, we send messages with light through fibre optic cables. These cables are used to carry information and are the bedrock of the internet.

However, not all devices can be connected to the optic cables, hence the need to make them wireless. For that, wireless cellular networks had to be developed. 

Terms and Terminologies Used in 5G Technology

Terms And Terminologies 

  1. Kbps 

It means kilobits per second. It is the smallest unit to measure information. 

  1. Mbps

Means megabits per second.

  1. Latency

This refers to the measure of time it takes for information to travel to its destination and back (from the sender to the receiver). It is also called lag.

  1. Network Slicing

This is when multiple virtual networks are implemented into a commonly shared network technology. 

  1. Frequency 

This is the number of times per second, that a signal repeats itself. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz).

  1. Radiofrequency 

This is the rate of oscillation of electromagnetic waves.

  1. Internet of Things (IOT)

This is the interconnection through the Internet. 

How Did We Go From 1G to 5G Technology?

The ‘G’ refers to the Generation of Wireless Cellular Technology. So far, we have five generations: 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G(LTE) and 5G.

Each generation does not only have defined transmission speeds but is also an advancement and an improvement, that makes it incompatible with the generations before.

1G, the first generation of cellular technology, was first developed in the 1980s. This technology was used to transmit analogue data through radio towers with radiofrequency. 1G transmitted data at 2.4kbps and was only used for phone calls.

2G was the second iteration of cellular technology. It was developed in the 1990s. It brought in the use of binary data with a frequency of 9.6kbps.

3G, developed in the early 2000s, gave rise to the era of smartphones. On your phone, there is a sign (H+) which means High-Speed Packet Access that came with 3G.

With improved speed and frequency from the previous generations, people could surf the internet and download apps with much ease.

The only downside was the error of weak signals. 

4G was developed in the 2010s.

It gained popularity because it was fast and there was a chance to download HD (High Definition) videos without having to wait for the loading icon.

This was the industry standard for developing this technology. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. This means that LTE is actually an evolution and not a technology.

It is an advancement of 4G that is more standard. What this means is that LTE is being implemented into 4G to keep making internet speed better and better.

5G is the latest wireless cellular technology developed.

The first implementations started in early 2019, with over 55 countries, starting from the US already using it. Global adoption of this technology is expected by 2022. 5G is about 10 to 100 times faster than 4G. 

As one generation becomes mainstream, the other generations before it becomes obsolete. 

What is 5G Network?

5G is the new hot topic around the globe. What is 5G? Why is 5G so groundbreaking compared to 4G?

5G is the fifth wireless cellular technology that has been developed to connect everyone and everything together including machines and devices.

5g is built to increase internet speed and connectivity ahead of 4G. 

5G is designed to increase the amount of data that is transferred wirelessly. To do that, certain aspects had to be developed. More frequency is required to carry more information. 

Increasing frequency is a problem. Frequency needs to be shared across television networks, weather radar, military, GPS etc.

For this reason, it requires licensing and it is quite expensive. 

Who is Behind 5G Technology?

For 5G to be developed, there was an intensive collaboration from individuals and companies around the globe. 

Of course, keeping in mind the industrialized countries that were equipped with the required technology played a key role.

So not one person or company, in particular, brought 5G to life. 

Companies like Cisco Systems Inc (US), Nokia Corporation (Finland), Qualcomm Inc. (US), Huawei Investment and Holdings Co. Ltd (China), NEC Corporation (Japan) among others were some of the key players.

Also, numerous partnership agreements, mergers and acquisitions, research and development had to be done to create long-term market sustainability of 5G.

How Does 5G Work?

It is important to note that 5G operates in the same mobile networking principles as the other cellular generations. 

The main thing about the 5G network is the frequency bands it supports. This determines the amount of information to be carried.

Previous generations have used lower frequency bands. 

5G uses a high-frequency band spectrum to improve speed. This high frequency makes it unable to penetrate solid objects and travel long distances. As a result, 5G cell stations are installed atop building roofs or light poles. 

5G uses low latency because of more available bandwidth. This brings high speeds that are about 100 times faster than 4G.

Types of 5G Networks

5G is frequency-based.

According to this fact, it is classified into:

  • Low Band
  • Mid Band
  • High Band

These three are quite similar, yet different. The catch is, the lower the band, the wider the coverage, but with slower speed. 

  1. Low Band 5G

This type of 5G covers the sub- 1GHz spectrum which has long been used for cellular connectivity. It has high coverage and high-frequency bands.

It has a slow speed ranging from 100Mbps to 300Mbps. It was easy to deploy hence was rolled out first by companies. 

This type of 5G is most useful in rural and suburban areas. 

  1. Mid Band 5G

It covers between 1GHz and 10GHz. In this spectrum lies most 4G bands as well as WiFi. WiFi routers use 2.4GHz and 5GHz. 

Mid Band 5G hangs in the balance in terms of range and speed, hence carries the majority of 5G traffic. 

It operates at a speed of between 400Mbps to 600Mbps.

It is most suited in rural and suburban areas as well.

  1. High Band 5G

This covers a frequency band between 20GHz to 95GHz. Most 5G speed demonstrations are done with high band 5G. However, it is not still available for consumer applications. 

High band 5G has the lowest range with the highest speed of 1Gbps to 2Gbps.

It is most suited in densely populated urban areas.

What are 5G Features?

  • Low latency 
  • High speed 
  • High capacity 
  • High frequency 
  • High capacity 

What are the Key Differences Between 5G and 4G Networks?

So why is 5G so groundbreaking compared to 4G? 

Each generation differs in its encoding methods and data transmission speeds.

4G can support up to 300Mbps with lower speed while 5G is 100 times faster than 4G (LTE) and can support up to 2Gbps.

5G has a lower latency and high-frequency bands than that of 4G networks.

Has 5G Been Launched?

Yes. 5G is already here with us. There are some countries, starting with the US and China, that have implemented 5G networks. Now, over 65 countries around the globe are using 5G networks. 

Recently, in Kenya, Safaricom made moves as the first country in East Africa to launch 5G services. 

This service is to be supplied through Huawei and Nokia technologies across different parts of the country, like Nairobi, Kisumu and Kisii, in order to reduce data traffic.

What Phones Have 5G Technology in Kenya?

Certain mobile phones have been selected for the rollout of the 5G network.

In Kenya, phones equipped with 5G technology include Nokia 8.3, Samsung Galaxy S20 series, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

Other countries have come into partnership with different preferred phone companies for the implementation of 5G technology. 

What are the Advantages of 5G Technology in Kenya?

5G came with increased capacity. This allowed a large number of connected devices with super-fast access to the internet. 4G, in areas with more people, is often slow, with lower bars. 5G is preferred for use in densely populated areas. Thousands of connected devices can send and receive information without interruption. 

5G has low latency. Its latency is approximately 10 times less than 4G. This provides room for the automation of services. Fields like industrial plants, remote-controlled transport systems and medical surgeries can benefit from this aspect. 

High speed in data transmission with 5G network. 5G speed goes up to 2Gbps. This instant connectivity allows us to access files, programs, applications and download HD videos without having to wait on the loading icon.

5G allows other heterogeneous networks to be implemented into its technology, through network slicing.

5G allows fast, uninterrupted and consistent connectivity around the globe. 

5G is very efficient and effective.

Large amounts of data can be transmitted as high frequency allows more information to be carried. 

What are the Disadvantages of 5G Network in Kenya?

Technology will always keep on changing. Settling on 5G does not entirely mean there won’t be a need to develop other fast networks. 

As generations of cellular technology keep on advancing over time, it is as expensive to develop and maintain 5G technology.

There was a need to change old devices that were not compatible with 5G. This was expensive to discard them, in order to develop new ones.

Privacy and security of 5G is still a problem that needs to be fixed. 

Different speeds need to be achieved. For that, high frequency is required. Obtaining licenses to launch higher frequency is also quite expensive. 

How Will 5G Affect Kenya’s Economy?

These are the impacts of the 5G technology on business activities. 

5G is propelling global economic growth. This impact on the economy is much greater than previous generations.

There is 3.5 trillion dollars in revenue that is expected to be generated from 5G services that are rendered in the world.

What are the Benefits of 5G to Businesses?

5G is poised to better serve businesses in the expanding Internet of Things (IoT).

5G is designed to reduce power consumption due to improved battery life on the devices. This makes it less expensive for businesses to maintain.

Increased speed and frequency bandwidth on 5G networks allow for office automation as well as super fast efficient connectivity. 

Low latency provided by 5G technology 

5G offers network management systems like network slicing to support specific business cases. 

5G is more secure and private hence confidentiality is assured.

How Will 5G Affect Me?

So there have been a lot of insane theories that have brought about a lot of unrest among individuals in the world.

This has led to protests in an effort to burn down this good infrastructural technology. 

Some theories put forward drew concerns on 5G weakening the immune system, because of the high-frequency radiation waves, 5G causing cancer, mind control, and the novel global pandemic, Coronavirus.

Radiofrequency waves pose a risk to our health when they come in contact with our bodies. 

Studies show that there is no cause for alarm in using the 5G network as measures are being put in place to minimise its negative effects and make it safer.

5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

5G is designed to connect everyone and everything together, including devices, objects and machines. This technology is geared towards service automation. 

For example, automated transport systems, that is, self-driven cars, automated home appliances, industrial plant monitoring systems etc.

These systems are designed to perform functions that are normally done by human beings.

5G will provide the technology to give machines human intelligence to perform tasks.

What’s the Future of 5G Technology?

As mentioned above, 5G technology will keep going through numerous adjustments and improvements over the years.

Countries and companies are coming together and taking a new interest in developing better technology from the rest. 

Samsung and countries like China are already on their search for greener pastures. 

In the near future, after 5G has taken on its full effect (or not), a new buzz will be created: 6G.

Related Resources on Everything to Know About 5G Techonology in Kenya

Reasons Why Technology is the Answer to Youth Unemployment in Kenya

Best Tech Skills to Have in Kenya to Get a High-Paying Job

How to Start a SaaS Business in Kenya

How to Make Money With Drones in Kenya

What’s AI and How to Benefit from AI Technology in Kenya

FAQs About 5G Network in Kenya

What are the disadvantages of the 5G Network?

Which countries have 5G Networks?

Is 5G faster than WIFI?

What’s the difference between 4G and 5G?

What does 5G do for you?

What’s the big deal about 5G?

What is 5G technology in simple terms?

Do I really need 5G?

Does 5G improve phone calls?

Does 5G make a difference?

Who benefits from the 5G network in Kenya?

For the first time in Kenya, technology hasn’t left us almost a decade behind. The faster we adopt technology the faster our economy grows. Do you see any benefits of the 5G technology?

Is your phone 5G powered?

How does it function better than the 4G? Do you see any difference between 4G and 5G technology/networks?




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