The race to 5G communication is on between cellular carriers. Standards group 3GPP recently agreed upon the first official specification for 5G New Radio which will become the foundation for the majority of 5G-enabled products in the coming year.

Finalized details of the 5G New Radio standard will be published later this week. Qualcomm has already announced support for the new standard and has plans to immediately begin development of future 5G products. Matt Branda, director of technical marketing at Qualcomm, stated, "this is really the step that enables vendors to start building equipment."

The new spec has coverage of both standard low and middle bands but also adds support for high frequency ranges. The 600MHz and 700MHz bands are similar to what is available now for 4G LTE. The addition of 3.5GHz and 50GHz bands will offer significantly improved throughput at the expense of reduced signal strength over long distances.

A Standalone (SA) variant is expected to be ready for June 2018 that will provide full networking capabilities for end-users and control plane abilities for 5G NR.

Until 5G is deployed and readily available to consumers, we will not know the true performance that it can provide. 4G LTE was originally designed to provide 100Mbps when moving and up to 1Gbps while stationary but that goal is barely able to be met with the latest LTE Advanced standard and is unobtainable for the majority of consumers.

For now, we will continue to follow the developments of major carriers and hardware manufacturers to see how 5G is taking shape in practice.