BEIJING • If the Internet is a network of pipes criss-crossing the globe and enabling data flows, 5G is the supersizing of these pipes.
A series of technical standards that will speed up the flow of mobile data as much as a thousandfold compared with current 4G technology, 5G Internet is envisioned to be faster than even current home broadband connections, which means a high-definition movie will finish downloading in seconds.
Experts have said that this faster, wireless way to access the Internet will be crucial in realising emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles.
Besides greater speed, 5G also promises reduced lag, which means augmented and virtual reality - both of which require strong, high-speed connections - will no longer be tethered down by wires.
And 5G networks will bring far greater network capacity and reliability than current technology - which means that more devices can simultaneously access the Internet in the same physical space without hitting a bottleneck - and help usher in an era both of smart cities and smart homes.
Countries that are trialling or beginning to roll out national 5G networks this year include China, South Korea, the United States and Britain.
And 5G networks are expected to cover one-third of the world's population by 2025.
Lim Yan Liang