It’s hard to read a technology blog or publication these days and not find mentions of the coming 5G cellular network. There are all sorts of predictions about how 5G will be yet another revolution in wireless communication and digital technology. 5G connectivity promises to be a game-changer for a wide range of applications. Where it will probably have the most impact is on connectivity. That’s because 5G not only enables connectivity among an exponentially greater number of devices, it actually depends on it.
You’ll be able to access digital resources in a deeper way. You’ll be able to do things using smart devices and cellular communications that are impractical now.
What’s most exciting about 5G is the possibilities — the applications no one has thought up yet but which will give us endless creative opportunity.
What 5G is
As you probably guessed, 5G means fifth generation cellular network. Where a 4G LTD network, the current high-speed cellular standard, operates at frequencies below 6GHz, the 5G standard has two modes: below 6 GHz and between 30 GHz and 300 GHz — the so-called millimeter band.
The trade-off is a shorter range. 5G cellular networks will feature a much greater number of cell towers, operating at a tenth the power of 4G towers, much closer together. This is already causing controversy in some communities that resist all these new towers in residential areas — similar to opposition in some areas to 3G and 4G towers.
Like every generational change, it means a major step forward in data transfer speed, bandwidth and reliability. Another important improvement is lower latency — the lag between the time that you send an instruction or touch a button on your touch screen, and the network responding in a meaningful way. This is significant because it allows remote operations of very sensitive tools and processes. More on that later.
Finally, 5G networks promise more reliable connectivity with fewer dropped calls or lost signals. A typical 5G cell tower can connect a hundred times more individual devices than a 4G model.
5G achieves greater data throughput by using much large channels than 4G LTE, the current standard. 4G networks bundle up to 160MHz-wide sections of the spectrum, while 5G channels can be up to 100MHz wide, and some carriers bundling them up to 800 MHz. This allows far faster data transmissions.
This adds up to a huge increase in speed. While the fastest 4G mobile networks get up to 45 megabits per second, 5G could be 10 to 20 times faster. What this means is that instead of waiting 30 minutes to download a HD feature film, the 5G network will do it in less than half a minute.
The speed and lack of latency enables driverless cars that can communicate with each other as well as traffic signals and traffic monitoring systems to avoid accidents. Augmented reality and higher quality video are now within reach, as well.
Connectivity and the Internet of Things
5G networks can connect a huge number of different devices without any slowdown, and without any latency or lag. This allows us to use 5G technology to put sensors into just about everything, and have them connect to each other. Think of sensors in not only phones and computers, but also every vehicle on the road, as well as on traffic lights and signs, street lamps, all communicating with each other and adjusting their behavior.
The Internet of Things can connect every device and every process in a business, allowing automated management of supply chains. It provides real-time information from orders of magnitude more data points, empowering better decision making.
Your connectivity partner
We’re ready to work with you to implement new technologies in your business processes to find the highest value possible. Give us a call to find out how to make 5G connectivity open up new possibilities for your business.