5G – What to Expect
So, what is 5G anyway?
Most of our cellphones currently run on the 4G network. G stands for “generation” and we’ve been operating on this one since about 2009. It has limitations when it comes to how fast it can transfer data, and in some larger cities, open 4G bandwidth is becoming increasingly scarce because of the proliferation of customers and additional devices.
The fifth generation network, or 5G, promises plenty of wide-open bandwidth with data transfers speeds that will make 4G look positively quaint. It will be a night-and-day difference and it’s going to enable a drastic change in how we live our lives beyond simply enriching our mobile device experience.
When will this change happen?
The first place you’ll probably encounter 5G is with your mobile carrier. While each company has their own specific plans for a 5G rollout, you should begin to see them take shape in the next 12 to 18 months. Most carriers are currently offering 5G in select larger markets, with goals eyeing the end of 2020 as the target for offering nationwide coverage. The 4G network will mostly likely stay in place as it serves to help reinforce the 5G network.
What is it going to be like?
The technical specs of 5G can be a little daunting, but the easiest way to explain it is to compare it to your current 4G LTE service. Currently, if your signal had full bars and you wanted to download a high-def, full-length film on your phone, it might take you about six or seven minutes to complete the download. 5G service can reach speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second (10Gbps), which is almost 100 times as fast as the best 4G connection. This means that the same movie would download in less than five seconds. Not only is 5G blazing fast, the real advantage comes in the form of reduced latency. Latency is the amount of time it takes between a device initiating an action and getting a response on the network. This lag is noticeable on 4G and older networks, but on 5G, it’s nearly non-existent. With a nearly instantaneous response time and super-quick data transfers, a whole new environment of options begins to open up.
How does this affect me?
At first, you’ll see your mobile devices reaching amazing levels of functionality. . You’ll have crystal-clear video and real-time data of almost anything that you could need. Audio, video, and data can stream almost instantly, so cloud computing will become ubiquitous. Subscription-based offerings will be more common while downloading content (music, movies, docs, software, etc.) will begin to become obsolete.
A lot of the changes will come in the form of enhanced operating functionality across a variety of industries, but autonomous cars and the Internet of Things (IoT) might be the most dramatic changes. It’s not uncommon for the current generation of automobiles to have network connectivity, but latency times of a few seconds can have serious consequences when you’re doing 80 down the highway. Instantaneous communication will allow your car to have a real-time view of everything that’s happening in your immediate area or a few miles down the road. This sort of instant data stream is one of the last big hurdles to clear before we start seeing effective driverless cars.
The Internet of Things refers to the connectivity of everyday objects and physical devices. This could include a smart-fridge, your home HVAC system, speed cameras at a busy intersection, or any other device that can be remotely monitored, operated, or connected via the internet. Right now, these devices can be a bit slow to talk to each other as they dip into the already limited 4G bandwidth. As 5G becomes the standard, the implementation of these networked devices will make big leaps forward.
What will this do to my business?
There’s no doubt that taking advantage of everything that 5G has to offer is going to come with some costs. With all this new bandwidth and lightning-fast connectivity, the average customer is going to expect a richer, more functional experience from every device that interacts with the new network. This will necessitate an increase in capacity for server traffic, which will be difficult for smaller operators but more manageable for larger entities. On the upside, 5G won’t require a large infrastructure investment as most of it will operate wirelessly.
Remote connections will be far easier than before, so virtual conferencing and management of off-site events and facilities will make it easier to effectively expand the physical reach of your operation. You’ll also be able to interact more directly with your customers, providing a more personal experience.
5G gives you a richer menu of options to deliver even more to your customers, and they’ll get it faster than they ever thought possible. As you gear up to make sure that you can leverage your IT systems to your greatest benefit, there’s a good chance that some of your current data infrastructure will need to be upgraded if not replaced outright.
As you begin to plan for these changes, make sure that you have CDR Global in your corner to help you repurpose or recycle anything that isn’t up to the challenge. We can make sure that you limit your expenses and recoup value whenever possible. We’ll also ensure that any company or client data is sanitized as you take this great leap forward.