Over the past few years, you’ve probably heard talk about 5G. From internet providers to businesses to anyone who uses a smartphone, 5G networks have been a major buzzword in the tech industry.
5G networks have major benefits for anyone who is able to access them. However, these networks aren’t yet available worldwide—and your devices might not be automatically compatible with 5G. Read on to learn everything you need to know about what 5G is, how it can make your life easier, and how to connect your PC to 5G.
What is 5G? The short answer: 5G is a new standard of internet connectivity.
5G stands for fifth generation. A 5G network is the fifth generation mobile network—what comes after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. Each of these mobile networks has had different benefits and use cases as technology continues to advance. 1G was the first generation of mobile technology and was defined by voice. When 2G came around, it introduced a short-messaging layer. 3G was the smartphone phase, advancing core network speeds. And 4G included the high data-transfer rates that helped provide video and the other connected devices and services we use.
A 5G network is designed to allow for better connectivity than anything we’ve seen before. This unified interface will provide benefits for virtually every industry with its high speeds and reliability. A 5G network will allow people to use their phones, the internet, and share data faster than ever before. 5G networks may be able to reach speeds up to 10 gigabits per second—a major upgrade from 4G networks, which typically have a maximum download speed of 300 megabits per second.
The first 5G networks were launched in 2019. According to expert estimates, by 2024, 1.5 billion people will have access to a 5G network.
So, what’s so great about 5G?
The biggest benefits of 5G are the high speed and capacity. When using a 5G network, you can download content more quickly and will experience less delay or lag.
5G holds benefits for both businesses and individual consumers. According to a 5G Economy study, the support provided by 5G will support the creation of 22.8 million jobs and drive $13.1 trillion of global economic output. For individuals using personal devices, 5G will transform lifestyles by providing faster download speeds and more connectivity. This will translate into things like shopping with augmented reality or enjoying almost instant access to cloud services.
Does 5G have any drawbacks, cons, or considerations? For rural areas, it may take some time for 5G to expand that far. Operating a mobile device on a 5G network may drain your battery more quickly. And 5G could mean extra costs for consumers, too, as devices that are not 5G capable will need to be upgraded or replaced.
Overall, however, 5G is set to transform the way we live, work, and play.
Your devices may not be automatically 5G capable. Devices that currently use 4G or lower networks may not be configured for 5G and will need to be upgraded. You can purchase a new device to get started with a 5G network.
It’s also important to know that, because of testing and regulations, 5G networks are not yet universally available. Make sure to check availability to see whether your provider offers a 5G network in your U.S. city, or in the country where you live. You’ll have better luck if you are in an urban or at least a suburban area.
If your internet device is automatically capable of accessing 5G, your job is easy. All you will need to do is access a 5G network just like you would access any other wireless network.
You can access 5G using your PC if your computer’s hardware will support 5Ghz bandwidth. If your Windows computer has an 802.11a or 802.11n wireless network adapter, it should be compatible with a 5Ghz network band. You’ll also need to check your router to make sure it supports 5G, too.
If you have a dual-band router with two networks (one 5G network and one 2.5 network), rename them to make it clear which network is which. Then pull up the list of available WiFi networks on your laptop. Connect to the 5G network just like you would connect to any other network.
If your PC is not compatible with 5G, but you’d like to take advantage of this new network, you can purchase a new computer that will support 5G. Another option is to add 5GHz WiFi to your current laptop by purchasing a USB WiFi dongle. A dongle functions as a small modem that lets you access data. You plug the dongle into the USB port of your computer.
It may take a little patience and work before you can use a 5G network. You may have to wait for 5G to expand into your location, or purchase new tech that will give you the ability to access 5G. But once you’re able to successfully log on to a 5G network, your internet usage will be faster and easier as you enjoy this new standard of connectivity.