5G launched in April of 2019. But have could you list any 5G advantages helping you in the past year? Launches of any kind, whether a product or technology, are difficult. Everyone wants to be first. But with every new release, there are challenges. Consider the transition from Analog to Digital TV. In the living room, you might have gotten Channel 11, while in the bedroom you couldn’t. Latency and spotty reception also proved to be an issue. So what is 5G? And how is it changing technology? We’ll start by breaking it down.
What is 5G? The easiest way to understand it is to compare 5G with 4G. 5G transmits data more quickly than 4G because it uses higher-frequency bands called millimeter waves. 5G’s frequency range is between 30 GHz to 300 GHz, while 4G uses 6 GHz or less. What does that mean? Think of each frequency like a roadway. Lower frequencies are packed with the traffic of multiple communication systems. On the other hand, the higher frequencies are four lanes of wide open, freshly paved highway. Speed is one of the best aspects of 5G. It also has considerably less latency. To take advantage of 5G, you do need a mobile device that supports it under a network that offers it. So how is the latest generation of cell service changing the technology landscape?
Latency is the delay in the transfer of information. You send a text to your friend, and there’s a pause between the moment you hit send and the time they receive it. 4G latency is around 40-50 milliseconds. With 5G, latency is 1 millisecond or less. The impact of this is far greater than quicker text messages. With less latency times, 5G has potential to enable surgeons to use robotics to remotely operate on patients anywhere in the world.
5G offers speeds as fast as 10 Gbps. On 4G, downloading an HD movie takes around 10 minutes. With 5G, you’ll be able download the same movie in under 10 seconds. The implications of course stretch well beyond entertainment needs. For example, medical drones could provide real-time video of accidents, enabling emergency dispatchers to assess the situation before arriving there.
5G will allow more users to be connected to the Internet. The connection will be fast and stable. It will also have the capacity to run multiple high-demand applications at once, increasing the practicality of advanced virtual reality and AI.
Network slicing separates multiple virtual networks that operate with the same physical hardware for different applications and/or services. How does it work? It depends on the use case, but speed, capacity, connectivity and coverage can all be adjusted. Each slice can function and be managed independently. This provides additional security benefits.
Since 5G’s rolled out in selected areas, its footprint has spread. Still, issues persist. Signals are easily blocked by buildings and trees. Additional equipment needs to be added, and its implementation is expensive, must meet zoning policies and requires local government approval. What’s more, not everyone’s carrier or device supports 5G. If you’re looking to switch to 5G, you can check with your carrier to see if 5G is available in your area.
5G will not be replacing 4G. Think of 5G as a building standing on top of the foundation of 4G, using improved radios and software. For the near future, 5G will not be available as a standalone connection. According to a report by GSMA, by 2025, 15% of mobile connections in the world will be on 5G. In 2025, about 47% of the U.S. population is predicted to be connected on 5G while 44% remain on 4G. 5G has the potential to transform the lives of people around the world, while bringing verticals across all industries to the next level.
If you’re looking to improve your company’s mobile device program, you don’t have to wait for full 5G coverage. Connect with us and we’ll walk you through how our managed mobility services offering can help your company perform at its best.