In just a few years, we might be able to use technology in our cars to detect a wreck on the freeway or a downed power line. The wireless industry is formulating plans to bring 5G technology into the game, and doing so will mean not only faster download speeds, but it’ll change the way the Internet of Things (IoT) affects the world.

What is 5G?

Wireless networks currently operate on 4G technology, which allows you to download things like full-length movies in about six minutes. The fourth-generation mobile communication standard increased the upload and download speeds substantially from the 3G networks. It operates on primarily a 2.6GHz band frequency to allow millions of people to connect at once without severely altering the connection speeds.

5G technology is primed to increase download speeds to 10 gigabytes per second, meaning you could download a movie in six seconds. It may also reduce the latency period (the time it takes for data to travel between devices) down to one millisecond from the current standard of 50 milliseconds.

Perhaps most importantly, the wireless industry is working to increase 5G’s bandwidth capacity enough to accommodate over 20 billion connected devices. A network that large could allow for new strides in the world of IoT tech.

5G and The Internet of Things

The current 4G networks help connect around 5 billion devices in households and analysts predict that number could increase to 25 billion by 2020 with the help of 5G.

We already see IoT technology in things like home security systems and wearables, but a 5G network could potentially take the IoT to the streets. Cars enabled by 5G could detect sensors spread out along the roads and receive information about traffic problems and wrecks up ahead, automatically triggering the brakes so you’ll slow down in time to avoid a crash.

In addition, our mobile capabilities will increase to include ultra high resolution video streaming at substantially faster speeds. To compensate for the increased download capabilities, it’s likely manufactures will also work to produce phones and tablets capable of sustaining battery life that could last for a couple of days at a time.

It could also lead to smart refrigerators that automatically adjust the temperature depending on the current needs, or wearables that track the health of your dog. The potential for 5G isn’t fully known, but developers believe it could change entire city infrastructures allowing them to adapt to smart technology.

When can we expect it to arrive?

The technology is still in the planning stages, but many mobile networks are pushing for a release as early as 2020. The race toward 5G has become something of a global effort, with the European Union and South Korea dedicating upwards of $1 billion toward development plans and research.

The LTE World Series, an annual meeting of entrepreneurs, researchers and vendors involved in LTE technology, implemented the 5G World Summit for a second year in a row. The meeting is set to take place this summer and will look for ways to implement and expand the coming technology.

The 5G technology is certain to change the way we view smart technology as a whole. The ability to connect so quickly could open up the door to IoT innovations that have only been dreamt up in sci-fi movies until now. Whatever happens, we know the future of wireless technology is about to get a whole lot faster.