5G explained: A deep dive into the features and facts

Last updated:October 2019

Editor's note

Similar to Oz's mysterious wizard, many basic explanations of fifth-generation wireless -- or 5G -- fail to see the technology behind the curtain. Like all wizards and technologies, 5G has its own complications and disadvantages. The newest generation of cellular network technology lacks consistent deployment guidelines, differs greatly from its predecessors and is one of several disruptive technologies that currently dominate the networking industry.

This guide delves into the nitty-gritty details of 5G, explained in a comprehensive way that provides insight into the technology behind the metaphorical curtain. Learn more about 5G's history, 5G challenges and how other technologies -- such as edge computing and Wi-Fi 6 -- could play with 5G.

1The history of 5G explained

5G's full name is fifth-generation wireless, denoting its place in the history of mobile networking. In the following articles, discover how cellular networks have transformed over time, and compare the major differences among 5G and its predecessors. After reading those, take a quiz that covers mobile networking's history and how each generation shaped the networking industry.

2The differentiating features of 5G

Each generation of cellular network technology introduced its own flavors and features to the industry, and 5G is no different. Notable 5G features include small cells, network slicing and new frequencies. Explore each new feature of 5G explained in thorough detail, including pros, cons and the realities of these capabilities.

3Beware of these potential 5G challenges

While 5G promises increased network speeds and innovation, the new cellular network generation also has its share of hype and disadvantages. To avoid potential hype hypnosis, take a realistic look at 5G and potential 5G challenges. Dive into these limitations of 5G, explained beyond the benefits and buildup.

4What you need to know for 5G deployments and migrations

5G deployments are among 5G's main differentiating factors from cellular technology deployments in the past. These networks have different requirements and potential effects on organizations and network engineer skills. Learn more of what to expect from 5G and what 5G deployments and migrations look like.

5How 5G relates to other technologies

The networking industry is in a period of innovation and transformation, and 5G isn't the only technology leading this charge. Other advancements, such as 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), edge computing, software-defined WAN and software-defined networking, exist and can interact with 5G. This section explores the relationships between 5G and these other technologies and what these relationships could look like.

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