Five Things to Know About 5G

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Imagine operating a business with connection speeds 100 times faster than today or downloading an HD movie in under five seconds. Those things will soon become a reality with 5G, the next generation wireless network, which will serve as both an economic engine and transformative gateway to future development.

Companies like Crown Castle are already deploying the infrastructure that will comprise the backbone of 5G in Chicago and cities across the country. Here are five important things to know:

 #1: 5G stands for 5th generation

Each new generation of wireless networks has brought increased functionality to our devices. 1G delivered analog voice, 2G introduced digital voice and text messaging and 3G brought mobile data. Currently, 4G LTE is the wireless standard, which has ushered in the era of mobile internet. 5G is less of an evolution from 4G LTE and more of a wireless revolution in that it will serve as a platform for innovation, ultimately empowering new user experiences.

 #2: Demand for connectivity has led to 5G

We live in a world where connectivity is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 262 million smartphone users, in addition to more than 180 million other connected devices. And from 2016-2018, data traffic alone increased 238 percent. This demand for connectivity has created capacity constraints. That is why you might have trouble refreshing Twitter at a ballgame or lose GPS signal while driving. The transformative nature of 5G is illustrated by the 10,000 times increase in data traffic capacity it will support, while delivering more instantaneous and real-time access.

 #3: Small cell technology is critical to 5G rollout

Cell towers have traditionally enabled the capabilities of previous wireless networks. However, a new type of infrastructure, known as small cell nodes, is required for 5G technology. These small and inconspicuous nodes are typically installed close together on pre-existing infrastructure, such as streetlights and utility poles. Once connected, these small cells  can help unleash the power and capabilities of the 5G network.

 #4: 5G will foster a more robust IoT

Have you ever thought about how adding connectivity to streetlights could foster cost savings? Or how weather sensors and GPS could connect to deliver safer driving routes? According to a forecast from Gartner, Inc., there were approximately 8.4 billion connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices in 2017, a number that is expected surpass 20 billion by as early as next year.

With 5G technology, there will be no shortage of connected IoT devices that could truly transform the way we live, work and play today.

 #5: 5G will have a substantial economic impact 

On a local level, 5G will play a leading role in fostering a competitive local business climate. It’s a technology that is key to Chicago realizing its future as both a smart city and global tech hub. National industry reports also show that 5G can generate approximately 3 million new jobs, $500 billion in new GDP and $275 billion in infrastructure investments.

There is still a great deal to learn about the next generation wireless network and all that it will enable. But if there is one thing we know for certain, the 5G revolution is coming, and it is sure to be exciting.

For more information on Crown Castle, please contact Renee Morales, Public Affairs Manager.

Crown Castle owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and approximately 65,000 route miles of fiber supporting small cells and fiber solutions across every major U.S. market.  This nationwide portfolio of communications infrastructure connects cities and communities to essential data, technology and wireless service - bringing information, ideas and innovations to the people and businesses that need them.  For more information on Crown Castle, please visit