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5G’s Olympic Debut

This year’s Winter Games promise a sneak peek at a high-bandwidth, low-latency wireless future

4 min read
Illustration: MCKIBILLO
Illustration: MCKIBILLO

Welcome to the 5G Olympics,where Nathan Chen, the 18-year-old figure-skating phenom, has just landed another quadruple jump. Can’t see him well from your seat in the nosebleed section? No problem. Just slip on your 5G virtual reality headset for a 360-degree rink-side view! Now watch your step—we’re boarding the 5G bus to the next attraction. Check out the windows: They’re in fact transparent display screens providing ultrahigh-definition video—streamed live—from a hockey player’s headcam, from drones flying above the ski slopes, and from the cockpit of a bobsled barreling down an icy track at 100…120…150 kilometers per hour!

That’s what you can expect next month at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, if South Korea’s telecommunications companies are to be believed. KT Corp. (formerly Korea Telecom), the Games’ official sponsor, has announced plans for the first big test run of networking technologies that could herald peak download rates up to 100 times as fast as today’s 4G systems, with delays as low as 1 millisecond.

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