There has been plenty of hype and speculation surrounding the much-anticipated rollout of 5G networks into the consumer market for a few years now. As leading network providers gear up to deploy their 5G offerings, the benefits of 5G for businesses and consumers are also getting closer. 5G is expected to empower businesses to create new experiences and connect innovatively, changing how we work and play and solving many long-standing problems.
5G stands for the fifth generation and is the latest iteration of mobile technology engineered to increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks greatly. If 2G brought us SMS and MMS, 3G with the mobile internet, 4G with streaming and social sharing, 5G is the future, bringing all devices interconnected in today's modern society. Using shorter, higher-frequency radio spectrum bands, 5G offers lower latency, faster speeds, and greater load capacity. 5G promises speeds from around 400Mbps to over 2Gbps and more with a latency of 1 millisecond (ms) or lower.
More than just speed
The benefits of 5G for business go well beyond speed. 5G has been designed with an extended capacity to enable next-generation user experiences, empower new deployment models, and deliver new services. Businesses increasingly need connectivity that is both faster and higher quality to streamline operations, improve their competitive positions, and better serve their customers. With high data speeds and superior network reliability, 5G will tremendously impact businesses while also giving users faster access to more information. Here are the benefits and opportunities 5G brings for businesses and consumers:
1. Ultra-Low Latency
Latency is the amount of time between when you tell your technology to do something and when it does it. With 4G, there's a sizeable delay between a command being issued and a response being received, typically between 40 and 50ms. Even superfast fixed broadband has a delay of between 10 and 20ms. The industry expectation for 5G latency is less than one millisecond, making it ideal for mission-critical applications such as autonomous vehicles, where real-time communication is essential to avoiding collisions. 5G's ultra-low latency will also allow drones to communicate with one another, for example, on search and rescue missions. It will also allow robotic surgeons to carry out operations remotely or manufacturers to control machinery from anywhere in the world.
The ultra-low latency and exceptional bandwidth properties of 5G will significantly transform augmented and virtual reality use cases and raise the bar for immersive and engaging customer experiences. With 5G, businesses can conduct high-quality product and services virtual tours for their customers, especially those at remote locations where physical reach may be an issue. 5G customers will experience virtually no lag when streaming videos, playing video games, or even hanging out with friends in the metaverse.
2. Transforming IoT
The overall number of IoT connected devices is forecast to grow from 7.6 billion in 2019 to 24.1 billion by 2030. The billions of additional devices that will directly connect to the internet in coming years, as sensors, controllers, and human-machine interfaces, will need fast, stable connections. While Wi-Fi is one option, it's not always the best one. 5G is designed to not only deliver faster, better mobile broadband services compared to 4G LTE, but it's also specifically designed to support billions of connected devices.
With 5G, the IoT will rise to its full potential, allowing developers to unite separate devices and sensors into one system. IoT systems will be able to cover entire cities, making smart cities even more of a reality. And with the ability of a 5G network to handle more connected devices, consumers will benefit from greater reliability of their connected devices.
In 5G networks, network virtualisation is built into the underlying technology. This enables carriers to slice up the network into pieces and optimise resource delivery for the users who subscribe to each piece. Instead of offering a single service for every subscriber, 5G operators can build virtual networks with particular characteristics, such as connectivity, capacity, and throughput. This means that carriers can customise the network to meet the particular needs of business customers – businesses can own their private 5G network.
For example, 10 percent of a network's resources can be reserved exclusively for mission-critical applications or IoT devices. 5G allows networks to be sliced on an as-a-service basis, with services scaled up and down quickly and easily. For businesses that want to create new services and enter new markets, 5G offers the opportunity to partner with carriers on a custom-built network that goes above and beyond the standard services. Having a custom virtual network based on 5G availability can be the edge that distinguishes your services from the competition.
Shortcomings of 5G
Challenges are an inherent part of the new development. So, like all technologies, 5G also has big challenges to deal with. The biggest challenge is deployment and coverage. Due to the type of signal that some 5G cell towers transmit, their reach is severely limited to devices in proximity. Trees, buildings, and other objects can also obstruct signals, requiring cell towers to avoid signal path loss.
This means that many small antennas and base stations will have to be installed on buildings or homes to compensate for their shorter range. Cities will need to install extra repeaters to spread the waves and extend range while maintaining consistent speeds in more densely populated areas. But deploying such infrastructure across the country, especially the rural areas, isn't an easy task, and ensuring access to 5G technology and services and affordable connectivity for rural users will be extremely challenging.
Other shortcomings of 5G include:
- High operating and maintenance costs: Adding the hardware required for 5G networks can significantly increase operating expenses. Of course, these costs go beyond the hardware itself. Networks must be configured, tested, managed, and regularly updated - all things that exponentially increase operating expenses. Government incentives could ease the burden for operators and encourage them to adopt.
- Cybersecurity issues: Like any data-driven technology, 5G rollout will have to contend with both standard and sophisticated cybersecurity threats. Since 5G allows more devices to be connected, bad actors have increased opportunities to wreak havoc on business and consumer data alike. Enterprises must invest in incorporating security measures to protect their IT systems at all levels.
We’ll Help You Leverage the Benefits of 5G
In weighing the pros and cons of adoption, the one thing that’s certain is that businesses stand to benefit from having the capacity to take on the potential afforded by 5G. With a wealth of quality data at your fingertips, we can help you transform it into something actionable for your business, through sleek and powerful interfaces customised to your needs.
Whether you are looking to develop real time applications to capture the hearts and minds of your target audience, or find a way to collect, collate and make your data actionable for you to make better decisions, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discover how we can help you leverage the power of 5G technology!