Verizon, AT&T and Sprint (at long last) have committed to LTE as the true network standard for 4G data transmissions, meaning we can look forward to fewer and fewer conflicting definitions of 4G plastered all over cell phone advertising. Now that that problem's out of the way, we can look forward to a whole new mess around 5G, because such a thing actually exists already. Actually, the name itself is misleading right off the bat: the 5G chips Broadcom will be showing off at CES are for Wi-Fi, not cellular data.
What Broadcom is branding 5G we already know as 802.11ac, a new wireless standard capable of speeds over 1 gigabit per second.
Broadcom has 5G Wi-Fi chips to show off at CES, and they'll move data at triple the speeds and six times the power efficiency of its 802.11n technology.
Broadcom's calling 802.11ac the fifth generation Wi-Fi standard, and as previously reported, it should see ratification by the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2012. But why wait for everything to be official? Broadcom has 5G Wi-Fi chips to show off at CES, and they'll move data at triple the speeds and six times the power efficiency of its 802.11n technology.
Broadcom expects its 5G Wi-Fi chips to be capable of speeds up to 1.3 gigabits per second. The faster speeds are due to how 5G transmits data: it broadcasts over 80 megahertz of spectrum as opposed to current Wi-Fi's typical 40 megahertz, and uses a 256-QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) process four times more efficient than 802.11n's 64-QAM.
We'll hopefully see Broadcom's 1.3 gigabit claims put to the test at CES, but don't expect actual 802.11ac products to hit the market until the end of 2012 at the absolute earliest. 802.11n's hardly struggling with today's network speeds.