Fifth generation networks—otherwise known as 5G technology or “wireless fiber”—are slated to become the future of mobile connectivity.
Boasting comparatively faster speeds, better coverage, and more reliable connections, 5G is expected to outpace the capabilities of 4G. It’s not that 4G hasn’t been doing its job, it’s just that 5G will do it better. This is because of its unique ability to address the:
- Rise in mobile data traffic (due to video streaming)
- Exponential growth of device connectivity
- IoT demand on networks
- Need for network operators to reduce operational expenditures
With this enhanced broadband queued up for a 2020 release, let’s talk about how these advancements will augment your current IT processes.
What’s the Difference?
To understand how 5G technology will positively affect the IT industry, it is important to first establish how this technology has improved since the release of 4G broadband in 2008.
- 4G relies on an international grid of cell phone towers and a process called carrier aggregation to bolster and relay signals. The infrastructure is expensive to build and maintain, making it marginally difficult to bring 4G services to remote locations around the world.
- 5G will play off the carrier aggregation relay. However, instead of relying on cell towers, it will use beamforming antennas and will be sustained by ground-level 5G Access Points. These are scalable to user demand and environment. 5G’s higher information density will allow providers to compress more data into a smaller spectrum. 5G’s scalability reduces the likelihood that any one entry point will be the limiting factor in availability or speed.
These 5G APs will be “the first network designed to be scalable, versatile, and energy smart for the hyper-connected internet of everything world.” Theoretically, 5G will also be more economical for production and installation and will increase mobility and signal strength to remote areas. Because of its characteristics, 5G is especially architected to sustain and augment IoT-enabled devices and technology.
With many benefits foreseen, CentricsIT experts discuss three industries in which we expect to see the most 5G technology reform.
Future Applications for 5G Technology
We have seen the autonomous car industry make great strides in recent years, expanding on the current accoutrements that manufacturers have architected into newer models. These include features like adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, collision avoidance, automated parking, etc. However, even pioneers in autonomous vehicles have seen fatalities: consider Uber in Arizona and Tesla in California. These incidents have spurred heated debates in both corporate and private sectors about the ethics of enabling a computer to make life or death decisions for humans.
Frankly, 4G and its 50ms latency is not fast enough to facilitate the split-second computing that autonomous driving requires. Because 5G latency is less than 1ms, researchers are hopeful about its ability to handle the offloaded processing necessary for real-time responsiveness and driving directions.
Healthcare providers increasingly rely on IoT devices and remote networking systems to monitor, diagnose, and treat their patients. Having a scalable, reliable network is more important than ever, especially considering the lives that weigh in the balance. Fortunately, 5G will further increase the efficiency and reliability of these procedures.
Perhaps the most exciting implication of a 5G network, however, is the possibility of a robust remote doctor service for underdeveloped or hard-to-reach areas around the world. 5G’s smaller footprint will enable providers to roll out 5G APs almost anywhere. Not only will this create a better infrastructure for remote diagnosis, but 5G’s minimal latency will also facilitate remote treatment.
Smart cities are not a new concept to the IT landscape, but there is always room for improvement. The main goals in recent years include reducing carbon emissions, mitigating energy consumption, streamlining transportation complexities, and creating a safer environment for pedestrians.
With ease of deployment and low latency times, 5G will generate real-time metrics for actionable insights. This includes tasks as simple as optimizing motion-controlled street lights for energy use to providing public safety mechanisms such as emergency response units.
Where is 5G Technology Now?
5G might be ready before manufacturers have devices that can utilize it. Mobile hardware is still in the R&D phase as engineers troubleshoot ways to adapt device antennas to accommodate for 5G’s high frequency and low wavelength.
Other key milestones include:
- Spectrum congestion
- Federal and State regulations
As of December 2017, 5G passed its first specification hurdle. 3GPP (the organization that governs cellular standards) officially signed off on the 5G NR standard. The next two 3GPP phases will be completed by September 2018 and March 2020. Core standards still need to be met, but 5G is well on its way to release and user adoption.
5G networks and 5G-enabled devices will connect soon—no pun intended. It’s time to begin thinking about the applications to your business and processes.
Don’t have the IT bandwidth to keep up with the latest advancements in technology? That’s why we do the research and development, so you don’t have to. Stay up to date on industry innovations with CentricsIT.