Musings: Communication is Now (High)-Key

 

By Krishna Pamidi

More memes per second than ever before with 5G

Illustration by  Rhianna Burns .

Illustration by Rhianna Burns.

I was ten years old when I got my first phone. The Motorola RAZR phone, the coolest thing mankind had ever conceived, seemed to be my ticket to the cool life, where I could command the lunches of all my friends at school. Simply because I, too, was the proud owner of a black brick with a rudimentary screen on the front, I was ready for the future. And that future was for me to be able to surf the web on the 3-inch screen.

But that was eight years ago. Now is the time for mindless memes and rampant sensitivity. I love it. However, to fuel and facilitate the musings of over 7 billion people who reside on this planet, there must be a solid infrastructure in place to support that. And to explain this infrastructure, I must become a little boring. Apologies.

Age of Wisdom

About 14 years ago, when cell phones were starting to become a pervasive phenomenon, big data companies all over the world started streamlining the telephone industry. Instead of relying on rudimentary data transmission lines, which were only able to send out phone calls across big cities, companies started mass innovating the 2G structure so people could call AND text (albeit small volume texts) one other person.

A novel idea, no?

Then, around 10 years ago, 3G was all the rage. With 3G it was now possible to text without having a degree in stenography, which was nice. Also, you could now view primitive HTML pages. But, more than the actual capability of 3G data transmission, this was the stepping stone to explore what the phone was truly capable of. With the launch of Apple’s iPhone 3G, the world was introduced to a completely new way of interacting with each other and the Internet. It was wonderful. People could now send pictures to one another. And guess what? They didn’t look like those pixelated Bigfoot conspiracy pictures either! You could actually tell the eyes apart.

And then the game changed again. About eight years ago, 4G became a thing, and lo and behold the world…..didn’t really care. It was because the first commercial use of 4G was limited to big tech cities like Silicon Valley as an experiment and then later provided to the likes of Vodafone and Verizon. But it was exponentially better 3G because now signals were much stronger and you could contact anybody from anywhere! It wouldn’t matter if you were trying to call San Francisco, California or Raleigh, North Carolina. Moreover, the speeds were comparable to home WiFi speeds with download volumes ranging from pictures to entire videos and more.
And now we come to the present. 5G is possibly the biggest technological step into the future. Think man from ape. Theoretically, with the transmission speeds that 5G is supposed to facilitate, doctors should be able to conduct sophisticated surgeries from across the globe. My International Business professor told me that. The stock market is going to be more interesting and the competition between brokers that much more fierce.

Theoretically, with the transmission speeds that 5G is supposed to facilitate, doctors should be able to conduct sophisticated surgeries from across the globe

Come One Come ALL

Now that we have that over with, I’d like to ponder the reality behind this tech and to bring awareness to the global outlook of worldly phenomena. And this is no exception.

Firstly, 5G is still far away. It is still very much in the developmental phase and each country around the world is dealing with 5G in different ways. But at the core of 5G is one underlying theme of globalization.

Globalization is the idea that nations from far and wide are coming together to trade, barter and exchange information. It signifies the global acceptance of one another and symbolizes the creation of one supreme world market rather than hundreds of individual nations’ markets. 5G has the capacity to completely change and accelerate globalization to new levels and unlock new potential for data transmission and trade.

But at the core of 5G is one underlying theme of globalization.

China

China is decidedly at the forefront of 5G technology. With their leading cell phone and processing company, Huawei, of which the Chinese state owns some 20%, China is racing to the front no holds barred. And for good reason, because the first country to have a considerable monopoly and command over this technology is going to be the undisputed new king of the world. Known as ‘first mover advantage’, if Huawei succeeds in mass producing and facilitating 5g across the world, then it can control the data that flows through. In this day and age, data is king.

That said, China is trying feverishly to get its products into as many countries in as large a capacity as it can. Huawei already has a strong foothold in the EU countries. Countries such as Sweden and Finland, who themselves house giants like Nokia and Ericsson, are adopting Huawei 5G chipsets because of superior quality and affordable pricing.

Huawei also released their newest phone in the 2019 mobile world congress: the Mate X Pro, one of the few new phones to start off the era of 5g cellular devices. Apart from featuring a flexible screen, this new phone also has the capacity to support colossal internet speed which should make YouTube lagging a thing of history.

However, for every proponent, there is almost always a detractor. In this case, that detractor is called Donald Trump and he is on a crusade to wipe out Huawei from the face of the western hemisphere. Long story short: He is afraid China is using the technology to spy on Americans.

India

India is one country which can be the engine for 5G’s explosion. Seeing as 4G, the technology America received some eight years ago, only hit the ground two years ago, India can be on par with the current global trend towards seamless data transfer if it can engage in 5G as soon as possible. In that sense India can benefit greatly from 5G

And it gets better. Even though India first launched 4G some two years ago, the mass majority of India only started using it since a year ago, when a mass telecom company, Reliance Industry offered unlimited text, phone and more importantly, data for free. . Within a year the company amassed over 100 million users. However, the actual quality of 4G, from any telecom company is akin to the quality that Americans received around 2010, during the transition period from 3G to 4G.  
And here again, we see Huawei. Huawei is currently in a contract with an existing Indian firm, Bharti Airtel, to bring mass 5G satellites into the country and set up the infrastructure to launch 5G. With a country of over a billion people, Huawei expects this population to make up a significant portion of their expected growth of $5.9 billion in 2019 and that is not including the potential contracts that other Indian firms might engage in with Huawei

South Korea

With the fanfare around the battle between China and America, South Korea has become the first country to launch 5G services officially.

As of December 1, 2018 South Korean firms: LG, KT, SK Telecom and a few others have officially launched 5G services, for industrial use. Commercial services are set to be launched in the coming months too.

All through last year, Korean manufacturers LG and Samsung have worked closely with the native telecom firms to manufacture sustainable equipment to support 5G and have observed positive results. They launched a little over 100 5G base stations across the country and plan to expand that number to 7,000 by the end of the year to create the first nation to have a full-fledged 5G network system.

This step forward has allowed Korean manufacturers to push the limits of the technology itself, with KT set to experiment with holographic streaming devices and technologies. This could be a game changer and put Korea at the forefront, right next to China in terms of world power.

Why did I read this?

Good question.

As I said before, 5G is going to be the most important thing that a lot of us are going to have the chance to witness. This is because the effects of this technology go far beyond just its cellular applications. With the introduction of this hugely efficient data transfer means, the world will truly become smaller and we can view infinitely more memes per second than ever before. Those are the pros.

The cons? Terminator might become a thing.


In “Musings,” sophomore Krishna Pamidi shares a new adventure every week about the grand modesty that is called life by exploring the global twists to universal experiences.