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FCC starts the process for making '5G' gigabit mobile data a reality

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We're barely seeing 4G take hold here in the States and the FCC has begun the process to push into 5G for mobile data. The government's communications council voted unanimously to start looking into accessing the higher-than-24GHz frequency spectrum that was previously thought to be, as Reuters notes, unusable by mobile networks. So what are the benefits? Gigabit internet connections on the go, for starters -- something our current sub-3GHz spectrum can't quite handle -- similar to the ones Samsung just tested. Yeah, now you're excited. The feds believe that using these "millimeter waves" would allow for higher bandwidth for more people and devices at speeds that outclass most homes' broadband.

However, these waves only work over short distances for now and require line of sight for their point-to-point microwave connections. And that, my friends, is what the FCC is hoping to fix in the interim. What the vote means is that the groundwork is being laid, and research to make sure the tech is actually feasible now has the green light. For now it's anyone's guess (some estimates say by 2020) when we'll actually start surfing the mobile web at Google Fiber speeds while we're out and about -- millimeter waves may be fast, but the wheels of bureaucracy are not.


[Image credit: Rennett Stowe / Flickr]

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