The more companies talk about 5G, the more the idea becomes a pipe dream no one will ever be able to make into a reality. Despite the numerous reports about experiments, field testing, and carriers pushing for 5G, it still doesn't feel like it's arriving soon.
The fact is, however, transitioning to 5G will definitely be a slow process, and perhaps the smartphone market is currently in the thick of it. There are a lot of pieces that need to come together to get 5G networks on mobile devices, not to mention new standards and new modems, but Qualcomm is clearing away one huge hurdle, thanks to the announcement of its new QTM052 mmWave antenna modules, which will enable smartphones to connect to the high-speed networking spectrum needed for 5G.
Why 5G Is So Hard To Develop
Part of why the 5G dream is so elusive is because not all 5G is created equal, as The Verge notes. Qualcomm's own test from the Mobile World Congress earlier this year showed as much, with some users getting speed bumps even with just lower-bandwidth 5G implementations. However, true 5G will have more significant gains than that, a feat that'll largely depend on the mmWave network.
Of course, Qualcomm isn't going to solve the 5G problem alone. Again, a lot of factors must come together perfectly before a true 5G evolution can ever happen — but it's making a huge contribution by developing mmWave hardware for handsets. That's no easy feat too. While mmWave can lead to faster speeds, it also transmits at shorter ranges and is more susceptible to simple blockage, including walls and even skin.
Qualcomm Is Very Confident About Its New 5G Module
Qualcomm says its 5G component is the real deal, though. The antenna array, barely the size of a penny, features four antennas that can accurately locate the closest 5G tower. It's also designed to be small enough to fit into tiny phone bezels.
While everything mentioned above seems pretty exciting, it will largely depend on whether Qualcomm's new module performs as promised. It's an understatement to say that 5G development is very fickle at the companies, and it seems companies are all just throwing possibilities around to see what sticks. Qualcomm is confident its solution will work, though. In fact, the first devices equipped with the QTM052 will apparently launch as early as 2019.
It goes without saying, though: a 5G-capable phone is useless without a true 5G network.