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What’s the Big Deal About 5G?

4 minutes read

With the new year around the corner, 5G is approaching fast. Reports originally stated we’d start seeing 5G wireless by 2020. Now, AT&T and Verizon are in a race to bring 5G to businesses in 2019. Verizon FIOS already has 5G wireless connectivity available in the home for mobile devices that support it.

5G for business will not just help employees be more productive by increasing internet speeds and bandwidths to accommodate more users at once for VoIP, telepresence, and video conferencing. 5G opens a new realm of what’s possible in the cloud and will be deployed in healthcare, manufacturing, green buildings, and virtual reality / augmented reality (VR / AR).

5G: Faster and Less Expensive to Deploy

Businesses that, in the past, may have required dedicated fiber optic or coaxial network lines can save tens of thousands of dollars and months of time using a 5G wireless service from a major provider. Instead, a 5G network can be deployed in hours, instead of months.

How Fast Is 5G?

Users who regularly run bandwidth-heavy applications may already be impressed by today’s download speeds. Today’s modems are a far cry from logging in via dial-up and waiting for that distinctive “beep…beep…beep…buzz.”

But today’s content and applications are also more video-intensive and reliant on fast internet speeds with no latency. Broadband WiFi is good enough in most situations, right now. But as multi-user, streaming video applications require more bandwidth and businesses have increased needs to access mission-critical big data in the cloud, 5G will deliver the high performance and low latency required.

Customers of Verizon 5G Home, now being rolled out in four major U.S. cities, enjoy download speeds around 300 Mbps, with peak speeds reaching 1 Gbps. This is 30 to 50 times faster than home broadband connections, meaning full-length movies can download in seconds and viewers will experience no latency while streaming. Even 4K UHD content will load seamlessly.

In businesses and homes, this increase in speed will make a significant difference in applications such as video conferencing, transmitting AR / VR content, and streaming video.

Real-world Use Cases for 5G

5G is already being deployed on a test basis in healthcare at the OuluHealth-ecosystem OYS TestLab environment in Finland. The unprecedented reliability and low latency can enhance communications in a healthcare environment, making it possible for doctors to conduct wireless remote surgery, use wireless robotics in physical therapy and healthcare, and even try out new techniques through simulations in a VR / AR environment.

5G for Fun

5G can also enhance VR / AR in entertainment, increasing profit opportunities for venues and enhancing user experiences in gaming and thrill rides. VR roller coasters like New Revolution Galactic Attack in Six Flags theme parks already provide pulse-racing thrills. Imagine upping the ante with even more detailed graphics and 4K resolution, all with no latency thanks to 5G connectivity.

5G can also play a role in eSports, where latency considerations are critical to a fair competition. Currently, New Era Technologies relies on Software Defined Over Ethernet (SDVoE), which offers zero latency over a hard-wired network, to meet the extensive bandwidth needs in applications like the new eSports team practice suite at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. Imagine increasing processing speeds while maintaining zero latency through a wireless network. 5G could increase the ease-of-installation and lower the cost of entry for venues to support eSports on a large scale.

5G and the Internet of Things

In the future, we can look for 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) to go hand-in-hand, offering greater reliability and interconnectivity for critical infrastructure and security systems, including video cameras and smart door locks. Pairing 5G with existing software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) can increase reliability in applications where downtime is not an option.

As the number of IoT devices continues to grow, potentially totaling 31 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020, the limits to what IoT technology can do may be defined not by the devices, and certainly not by engineers’ imaginations, but by the bandwidth available. 5G can solve this challenge, enabling the use of embedded sensors in everything from machinery in factories to smart utilities and even traffic signs.

Will 5G Replace WiFi?

Pondering the capabilities of 5G leads us to a logical question: Will 5G soon replace WiFi? With the global WiFi market set to reach $33.6 billion by 2020, it’s not likely. Mobile and Wi-Fi only devices are expected to account for more than 50 percent of total IP traffic by 2020.

Instead, look for 5G to supplement and complement WiFi in multi-user environments where rock-solid reliability, blazing fast download speeds, and extensive bandwidth ensures smooth operations and maximum efficiency.