The first North American roll-outs of the next generation wireless networks, called “5G” are underway. They are already on trial or selectively available in a number of countries around the world. Vancouver was the first Canadian city activated, with a test site on the UBC campus in 2019.
Here are a few dimensions of what to expect with 5G:
Performance: Everything on the network will be 25 times faster than it is now, so bandwidth-intensive activities will be better than you currently experience on wired systems. Life-like, fully-immersive, augmented reality coming to your glasses as you wander the city? No problem. You will almost certainly mothball your home and school networking systems (routers, etc) because the mobile network will make them redundant.
Location: The network will be able to pinpoint your phone, and therefore you, to within a meter. This can offer enormous advantages, but also an overwhelming challenge to privacy rights.
Transportation: The increased bandwidth and latency will be a transformative new infrastructure for drones, self-driving cars, and all forms of transportation, including for retail, food, etc.
Smart Everything: The Internet of Things (IoT), combined with network-driven Artificial Intelligence, will begin to smarten-up every facet of our worldly experience, thereby changing it forever in thrilling, opportunistic, scary and even creepy ways. Just as nobody wants to remember what it was like when nobody had mobile phones, soon we won’t be able to remember what it was like when everything we encountered was ‘dumb’.
Global Infowars: Hacking, cyber-terrorism and cyber-warfare potentials will probably make today’s skirmishes seem like child’s play. The economic and political prospects of 5G are already a battleground (notice all the noise about Huawei?) that is utterly global, and will change the world forever.
The opportunities for teaching and learning are transformative.