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5G takes flight at 2018 Winter Olympics

Winter sports, like technology, have evolved enormously in recent times. Improved jumping techniques for instance allow ski jumpers to achieve greater distances. Spectators at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang not only enjoyed the excitement of the sports – but thanks to 5G, also witnessed the most high-tech Games in history.

Ultra-connected with 5G


Anything that can be connected, will be connected. That’s the premise of the fifth-generation wireless system, centred around the idea that the Internet of Things (IOT) – a giant network of connected “things” – is expected to push so much traffic through mobile data networks that we will need faster overall speeds, lower latency and reduced energy consumption.  It’s all about connecting people and things to each other whether self-driving cars, automated homes, smart cities, wearables, drones, mobile AR and VR devices. 5G aims to reduce latency to as low as 1 millisecond and boasts a theoretical maximum speed of 20 gigabits per second – that’s hundredfold faster than 4G speeds. 5G is expected to hit the market in 2019, becoming more widespread by 2025. Deployment of 5G at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics gave the public an early look at the technology.


“We’re getting closer and closer to the athletes. Viewers can control the time, target, even the angle of what they’re viewing,” says Intel’s Rob Topol.

Showcasing 5G at the Winter Olympics


Pyeongchang emerged as a vital 5G testing ground during the Games. Intel and South Korean mobile carrier KT Corporation used the event as the largest 5G showcase yet, illustrating its high-performance, reliability and different usages at a dynamic, high-traffic event. Intel’s team tested different devices with the new technology, while spectators were able to immerse themselves in a series of 5G-powered experiences, including live 360° video streaming, virtual and augmented reality. This included viewing athletes from different vantages or controlling their own instant replay of events. Athletes had the opportunity to improve their performance by observing and analysing variables such as form and speed from various angles or analysing the effect of external factors such as temperature, or snow and ice conditions on their performance.


The fifth and ultimate G?


Will 5G be just another G in the long list since 1G analogue mobile technology of the 1980s? This time techies are more excited and say 5G will be very different. By 2020 it is thought that up to 100 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. 5G is preparing to cope with this demand by raising the capacity of the network. 5G networks will not only be quicker but will also provide better throughput, ensuring there are no bottlenecks for the growing number of connected things. The industry is hoping 5G will be good enough to end constant talk about what the next G will be, and that it will only require exponential improvements over time. The 5G signal at Pyeongchang covered a limited area of 2.5 km2. When Japan plays host to the 2020 Summer Olympics, it aims to provide the world’s first commercial 5G network.


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