What Is 5G?

5G is coming this year. Or maybe not. In the race to 5G, or fifth generation wireless, companies are starting to promise the impossible, which will result in a lot of confusion over the next few years.Because there isn’t any official definition of 5G yet, all the players in the wireless world, from chipset makers to carriers, are jockeying to define 5G and establish themselves as 5G leaders. 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G The G in 5G means it’s a generation of wireless technology. While most generations have technically been defined by their data transmission speeds, each has also been marked by a break in encoding methods, or “air interfaces,” which make it incompatible with the previous generation. 1G was analog cellular. 2G technologies, such as CDMA, GSM, and TDMA, were the first generation of digital cellular technologies. 3G technologies, such as EVDO, HSPA, and UMTS, brought speeds from 200kbps to a few megabits per second. 4G technologies, such as WiMAX and LTE, were the next incompatible leap forward, and they are now scaling up to hundreds of megabits and even gigabit-level speeds. Okay, So What’s ‘Real’ 5G? 5G is a new network system that has much higher speeds and capacity, and much lower latency, than existing cellular systems. The technologies to be used in 5G are still being defined, but there are many details on which everyone agrees. 5G networks will use a type of encoding called OFDM, which is similar to the encoding that LTE uses. The air interface will be designed for much lower latency and greater flexibility than LTE, though. The new networks will predominantly use very high frequencies that can transmit huge amounts of data, but only a few blocks at a time. The standard will work all the way from low frequencies to high, but it gets the most benefit over 4G at higher frequencies. 5G may also transmit data over the unlicensed frequencies currently used for Wi-Fi, without conflicting with existing Wi-Fi networks. That’s similar to a technology T-Mobile is launching this year called LTE-U. 5G networks are much more likely to be networks of small cells, even down to the size of home routers, than to be huge towers radiating great distances. Some of that is because of the nature of the frequencies used, but a lot of that is to expand network capacity. So 5G networks need to be much smarter than previous systems, as they’re juggling many more, smaller cells that can change size and shape. But even with existing macro cells, Qualcomm says 5G will be able to boost capacity by four times over current systems by leveraging wider bandwidths and advanced antenna technologies. The goal is to have far higher speeds available, and far higher capacity per sector, at far lower latency than 4G. The standards bodies involved are aiming at 20Gbps speeds and 1ms latency, at which point very interesting things begin to happen. Is 5G for Phones, Cars, or Homes? Driverless cars may need 5G to really kick into action. The first generation of driverless cars will be self-contained, but future generations will interact with other cars and smart roads to improve safety and manage traffic. Basically, everything on the road will be talking To do this, you need extremely low latencies. While the cars are all exchanging very small packets of information, they need to do so almost instantly. That’s where 5G’s sub-1 millisecond latency comes into play, when a packet of data shoots directly between two cars, or bounces from a car to a small cell on a lamppost to another car. (One light-millisecond is about 186 miles, so most of that 1ms latency is still processing time.) Another aspect of 5G is that it will connect many more devices. Right now, 4G modules are expensive, power-consuming, and demand complicated service plans, so much of the Internet of Things has stuck with either Wi-Fi and other home technologies for consumers, or 2G for businesses. 5G networks will accept small, inexpensive, low-power devices, so they’ll connect a lot of smaller objects and different kinds of ambient sensors to the internet. So what about phones? The biggest change 5G may bring is in virtual and augmented reality. As phones transform into devices meant to be used with VR headsets, the very low latency and consistent speeds of 5G will give you an internet-augmented world, if and when you want it. The small cell aspects of 5G may also help with in-building coverage, as 5G encourages every home router to become a cell site. When Is 5G Happening? The first official 5G launches will come in 2018, with broad deployment in 2019. The schedule was previously set for 2019-2020, but carriers and equipment manufacturers figured out an accelerated schedule earlier this year. Source: pcmag.com

I’m rejecting the technology

From Wednesday, I’m going to live without my laptop, internet, phone, washing machine or television. I want my life back. I want my soul back. – Mark Boyle I’ll never know how many people liked this article, shared it or found it irrelevant, anti-progressive or ironic. Nor will I get to read comments about my personal hygiene, or suggesting that a luddite like me needs to embrace industrialism. And that is no bad thing, for the moment writing becomes a popularity contest – rewarding sensationalism, groupthink and deceit over honest exploration of complex matters – people and places lose, and those who need to be held to account win. Win, that is, for a shortsighted moment. The reason I won’t see any web reaction is because I live in a cabin – built with spruce, oak, hands, straw, Douglas fir, stubbornness, earth and knees – without electricity or so-called modern conveniences (I’ve never found doing the work to buy and maintain them particularly convenient). From Wednesday, I’m rejecting the world of complex technology entirely. That means no laptop, no internet, no phone, no washing machine, no tapped water, no gas, no fridge, no television or electronic music; no anything requiring the copper-mining, oil-rigging, plastics-manufacturing essential to the production of a single toaster or solar photovoltaic system. Having already rejected these industrial-scale, complex technologies, I intend to move fully towards what is pejoratively called primitive technology. Insofar as engaging with civilisation allows, I’m also trying to resist the modern domination of what Jay Griffiths, in Pip Pip, calls clock time – and failing daily. That probably sounds like I’ve given up a lot of stuff. But while I intend to be clear and honest about the difficulties involved over the coming months, especially in the digital age, I’m just as fascinated in exploring what lessons about life – myself, society, the natural world – I might learn; perhaps things my cyborg-mind cannot yet imagine. That was my experience of living without money for three fine years. Rejecting technologies that my generation considers to be the basic necessities of life wasn’t done on a thoughtless whim. I already miss not being able to pick up the phone and talk to my parents. Writing is different, my pencil unaided by both copy-and-paste and the easy delete, two word-processing functions reflective of a generic, transient and whimsical culture; and it has been a while since the media and publishing worlds worked by snail mail. I decided to eschew complex technology for two reasons. The first was that I found myself happier away from screens and the relentless communication they generate, and instead living intimately with my locale. The second, more important, was the realisation that technology destroys, in more ways than one. It destroys our relationship with the natural world. It first separates us from nature, while simultaneously converting life into the cash that oils consumerist society. Not only does it enable us to destroy habitat efficiently, over time this separation has led us to valuing the natural world less, meaning we protect and care for it less. By way of this vicious technological cycle, we are consciously causing the sixth mass extinction of species. Technology destroys places. Aside from the oceans, rivers, topsoil, forests, mountains and meadows, it helps us massacre and pollute with ever-improving precision and speed, its complex set of cogs quickly spreads us out all over the world, safe in the knowledge that we can stay in touch with loved ones via technologies that offer what is really only a toxic substitute for real connection and time together. It is badly injuring, perhaps fatally, rural communities, luring their youth into industrial and financial centres – cities – whose existence is premised, as the American writer and environmentalist Wendell Berry said, on the devastation of some other far-flung place, which consumers don’t have to look at thanks to the out-of-sight, out-of-mind distance afforded by technology. When I walk to the spring to collect water in the morning I meet neighbours and we talk. Yes, it takes time, something I found frustrating at first, but slowness only became a bad thing when time became money. Walking four miles to the post office to send my letters takes time too, but it ties me to people and place in a way that sitting in my bedroom on my own, writing endless emails, could never do. Technology destroys people. We’re already cyborgs (pacemakers, hearing aids) of a sort, and are well on our way to the type of Big Brother dystopia of the techno-utopians. And look at the state of us. Our toxic, sedentary lifestyles are causing industrial-scale afflictions of cancer, mental illness, obesity, heart disease, auto-immune disorders and food intolerances, along with those slow killers, loneliness, clock-watching and meaninglessness. We seem to spend more time watching porn than we do making love, relationships are breaking down because we stare into screens instead of eyes, while social media are making us antisocial. Living without complex technology has its own difficulties, especially for people like me who were never initiated into those ways. But already I much prefer it. Instead of making a living to pay bills, I make living my life. Contrary to expectation, my biggest issue is not being bored, but how to do all the things I’d love to do. Of course hand-washing your clothes can be a pain sometimes, but that minor inconvenience is hardly worth destroying the natural world over. Well-intentioned friends often try to convince me to go off-grid, but in using batteries, electrical cables and photovoltaic panels (as I once did), I would still be connected, by a peculiar sort of invisible cable, to the global network of quarries, factories, courtrooms, mines, financial institutions, bureaucracies, armies, transport networks and workers needed to produce such things. They also ask me to stay on social media to speak out about the technology issue, but I say I’m denouncing complex technology simply by renouncing it. My culture made a Faustian pact, on my behalf, with those devilish tyrants Speed, Numbers, Homogeneity, Efficiency and Schedules, and now I’m telling the devil I want my soul back. My life has its fair share of irony, and it can look hypocritical. Despite originally writing these words (a technology) with a pencil (a technology) in a hand-crafted cabin (a technology), the irony of this being an online blog is not lost on me. That is my compromise for now, for if you want to contribute to a healthier society, compromise can be a healthy thing if you know your boundaries. Being a hypocrite is always my highest ideal, as it means I’ve set higher standards for myself to strive for than I’m achieving at any one moment. We know that, at the very least, some technologies are harming our natural world, our societies and, ultimately, ourselves. Therefore we can recognise the need to reject some technologies. If we’re to avoid technological extremism we’re going to have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. I’ve drawn mine, and I will only move it in the direction of my home. Source: theguardian.com

SpareFare.net – the new way to find a flight tickets

Sick of wasting money on unused flight tickets? Do you want to grab a bargain flight or holiday package and also help the environment by reducing the number of empty seats on planes? You have come to the right place! SpareFare.net is an online platform connecting people, who have bought a flight or a holiday package but cannot use it anymore, with people who want to buy them at a discount. That is right – you can resell your flights or holidays as long as your airline or travel operator allow name changes! SpareFare was founded by three friends, who fly often and change their travel plans even more often! We know that frustrating feeling when you have already paid for your flights and realise you won’t be able to use them. So we decided to do something about it. For us, it makes perfect sense: someone with spare flights will get a partial refund for their ticket. And someone else will buy those tickets at the cheapest price available! This will also reduce the number of empty seats on planes, and avoid the purchase of a yet another seat, so the environment wins, too! Not to mention that airlines are going to make extra money per seat through change fees. Source: SpareFare.net

Two Sony Xperia Z3 phones now support Android N preview

Android N is sneaking out beyond just Nexus devices. Two versions of the Sony Xperia Z3 are now eligible for the preview version of Google’s operating system. Those with the D6603 and D6653 variants can grab the Android N Developer Preview and install it on their phones and get the forthcoming over-the-air updates until Google finishes off the software. These are the first mainstream phones to join the program, as the only other non-Nexus device is the General Mobile 4G, a low-end Android One phone. The Android N build supports all the new features, such as split-screen mode, bundled notifications, and direct-reply notifications. Why this matters: This makes us wonder if we’ll see Android N previews branch out to other non-Nexus phones. It could be part of Google’s strategy to get Android N on as much hardware as possible as part of a plan to finally beat back the ecosystem’s rampant fragmentation. Google has always shied away from actually forcing more restrictive update policies, so it appears the plan to push out Android N faster is to make the process as trouble-free for handset makers.

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