The next generation of wireless networks—5G—promises to make our electronic gadgets capable of a host of amazing things. For example, a cellular handset on a 5G network should be able to download a high-definition film in under a second (a task that could take 10 minutes on 4G LTE). 5G will also boost the development of other new technologies, too, such as autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. At the moment, it’s not yet clear which technologies will do the most for 5G in the long run, but a few early favorites have emerged. The front-runners include millimeter waves, small cells, massive MIMO, full duplex, and beamforming. To help you understand how 5G will differ from today’s 4G networks, we’ve put together a quick primer on these five technologies and what each will mean for wireless users.
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