Telecommunications company Verizon Wireless launched its 5G wireless connectivity service for the home on Monday, signaling a challenge to traditional cable companies — and giving consumers a sneak peek into the future of internet technology.

Aija Leiponen, professor at Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, studies the telecommunication industry. She says true 5G connectivity in consumer devices is a few years away, but that 5G will allow for technology like virtual reality to thrive.


Leiponen says:

“5G can and will challenge cable for home internet services. 5G will likely be significantly faster than most of current broadband services and it will enable new highly data-intensive services such as virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, or multiperson video conferencing. However, consumer devices with true 5G capability are still a few years away even though Verizon launched the first trial networks in five U.S. cities Monday (Verizon service will send internet to the home using a 5G modem that picks up the signal from 5G network and converts it to a traditional Wi-Fi signal), and thus, the mobile 5G network is not yet available.

“5G is a new way of providing ultra-fast connectivity for wireless devices such as phones and tablets, or home appliances such as TVs or other Internet of Things devices. However, 5G is a ‘last-mile’ technology meaning it will still need to connect to ultrafast fiber-optic IP networks and, thus, it doesn’t necessarily solve the connectivity problems of rural areas with limited or slow access to the core internet. Nevertheless, 5G will definitely enhance competition for the last-mile service provision, which is great news in areas where cable companies have effectively monopolized broadband service provision.”

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