Column
June 21, 2017

The future is almost here

By Kevin Theissen

“Try putting your iPhones down every once in a while, and look at people’s faces,” said Amy Poehler, a comedian.

Mobile technology: the next generation

Faster and more efficient mobile phones are on the horizon. That’s right, 5G is almost here, according to Network World.

If you were never quite sure what distinguished 1G from 2G, or 3G from 4G, much less 4G from 5G, the answer depends on whom you ask (or in this case, what you read). PC magazine explained the technology this way:

“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.”

The Economist, on the other hand, explained the benefits to users: speed of communication. 5G is different from earlier generations of wireless broadband because it can: “… Send and receive signals almost instantaneously. The latency (i.e., the lag between initiating an action and getting a response) that has hobbled mobile phones will be a thing of the past. When 3G phones were “the bee’s knees,” the time taken for two wireless devices to communicate with one another was around 500 milliseconds. That half-second lag could make conversation frustrating. A decade later, 4G had cut the latency to 60 milliseconds or so—not bad, but still an age when waiting for crucial, time-sensitive data, especially from the cloud.”

5G mobile networks may be up and running by the time the South Korean Winter Olympics roll around in 2018, according to The Economist.

It’s easy to conclude that the world is quickly going to hell in a handbasket. Except it isn’t. By virtually every objective measure of human well-being, the past three decades have been the best in history. The future trend is overwhelmingly favorable too.

Kevin Theissen is principal and financial advisor at Skygate Financial Group, LLC., located on Main Street in Ludlow, Vt. He can be reached at kevin@skygatefinancial.com.

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