This is what 5G means for you

Sydney Lamorea (MDEI ’20) is a user experience researcher and designer working with a team of University of Waterloo researchers and the Rogers 5G Create Lab to develop fun, innovative demonstrations of 5G technology.

Sydney Lamorea

Picture this: You leave the University of Waterloo’s main campus and your phone starts acting different. It’s loading fast enough but there’s a sparkle missing.

What just happened?

You’ve just left the secure connection of one of Canada’s first 5G Smart Campuses.

But what is 5G?

It stands for Fifth Generation network, the world’s newest mobile network being rolled out in Canada as you read this. Waterloo’s campus is a real-world testing site for the 5G technology that will change your life.

Still confused? Let’s put it this way.

Think of 1980 as the first generation. It’s super slow, analog, practically a big wooden radio.

And then, welcome to the ’90s when 2G will let you send messages and pictures one tortoise-slow bar at a time.

After that, you guessed it: 3G and then 4G (4G = Pokémon Go!)

Meeting people as holograms?

Now you might be thinking, “How could the internet possibly get any better than allowing me to catch augmented reality Pokémon in real-time?”

Answer: Faster and more powerful phones.

Another answer: A 5G autonomous shuttle bus like the University’s new self-driving WATonoBus.

Third answer: Meeting people as holograms.

ONE MORE ANSWER: No more buffering when everyone is at home trying to use the internet at the same time.

Personally, there is nothing I hate more than having to schedule internet time for virtual meetings with everyone at home during quarantine. 5G is here to fix that. It has ultra-low latency (aka: less wait time), high bandwidth (aka: room for more people on board) and super speed (aka: super-speedy speed).

We will be more connected than ever; connected to our friends, family, community and the future … That’s what the fifth generation is all about.

We will be more connected than ever; connected to our friends, family, community and the future ... That’s what the fifth generation is all about.

And Waterloo is on the front lines of this technological revolution, fostering connectivity and innovation in the world around us. The University has partnered with the Rogers 5G Create Lab to research and develop 5G technology and its applications. Our researchers are toiling away to harness the full potential of 5G for you: Putting it to work inspecting our roads with AI Smart City Alert Systems, and reimagining our world
with the magic of augmented reality (AR) in unexpected places like murals downtown or on the bus.

So, what is it you are feeling now that you’ve seen the glimmer of light that is 5G?

Probably joy.

Probably excitement.

You may be imagining frolicking somewhere in a field with your favourite Pokémon beside you.

Is it Pikachu? Charizard? An Eevee on your actual shoulder?

Or are you surrounded by loved ones from near and far, who are near in their holograms but far in reality?

Is your city talking to you while you drive, telling you to take the backroads due to congestion building up on the highway?

5G is not just the next generation of mobile networks. It’s taking the mobile network out of the computer box and into the actual hands of its users. It’s the next generation of what’s possible for our cities, our families and our lives.

It’s going to be seamless, fast and connected.

It’s going to be everyday life in a way we never dreamed was possible.

Until now.