Is 5G the Next-Generation of Business Telecom Technology?
The next generation of mobile connectivity will bring speeds more than 20 times faster than today’s top speeds. But 5G technology promises a lot more than just faster speeds …
Imagine yourself on a mega-highway during the morning commute. At some of the widest sections you can have 8 lanes going one way and 8 going another. But most of the traffic is only going one way.
This is how today’s 4G network works. The network is designed to allow a certain amount of traffic to go each way. Traffic allotments can’t be changed on the fly.
But 5G will allow network operators to adjust the volume of traffic that can flow each way in real time. Traffic flows then become responsive to demand and completely elastic. But the best part is this process can be done automatically.
5G is more than a hype.
This more natural flow of data is necessary for emerging tech like autonomous vehicles and other internet-connected devices that need a constant stream of data to work properly. It’s going to give network operators and end users an unprecedented amount of control over their devices.
And these devices are going to be commonplace very soon: according to BI Intelligence, the number of internet-connected devices will more than triple by 2020, growing from about 10 billion today to 34 billion. Only 10 billion of these 34 billion devices will be traditional computing devices like smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. The rest will be new technologies that have yet to penetrate the market.
Businesses will lead the adoption of internet-connected devices as they prove useful in reducing operating costs, boosting productivity, and helping companies reach new markets. Governments will follow closely behind the private sector, and consumers will follow behind the public sector in connected-device adoption.
What does 5G infrastructure look like?
Interestingly, 5G won’t require more cellphone towers. The necessary equipment can be mounted on existing utility poles and street lights. This equipment consists of ‘small cells’ and ‘distributed antenna systems’. Telecom service providers will simply pay a fee to utilities and municipalities to place their equipment on public property.
This is good news for distributed companies that need quality connections across the country, often outside of typical mobile service zones.
More good news: this future is closer than you think. While regulations for 5G are not yet in place, a regulatory environment is being developed by a coalition of companies and industry associations from around the world. The technology is nearly ready as well.
In 2016, there was a great deal of progress in the development of 5G equipment like radio chipsets, antennas, handovers, and multi-cell networks. Together, these innovations will bring lightning fast speeds and low-latency performance to the entire country. And they’ll change wireless networks forever.
We’re talking about virtually instant response rates on mobile devices and support for 10 times as many devices than there are in use now. 5G has the built-in capacity to enable machine-to-machine communications for up to 1 million devices per square kilometer. And these higher speeds can be achieved at much lower power consumption rates, meaning your smartphone battery will last even longer than it does now.
How will this change how businesses operate?
The enterprise powered by 5G won’t be constrained by physical networks. Improved connection quality will streamline the way employees communicate with each other and with customers. 5G will make multi-location companies more integrated and more productive. Geography will no longer be a constraint for telecommunications performance.
With today’s technology, many rural locations are underserved and don’t have access to the same download/upload speeds as more densely populated areas. It isn’t economical to install fiber and other high-speed broadband links in these areas.
But 5G will introduce Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology, which will solve this problem and provide broadband connectivity to all businesses, regardless of location. Pre-commercial trials of FWA are already underway in at least 11 areas.
And areas with existing fiber-optic coverage will also see positive changes too. New application and service capabilities facilitated by 5G will enhance businesses in every industry. What should you expect? Everything from high-res live-streaming video to augmented/virtual reality will be possible. Basically, heavily data-dependent applications will run a lot more smoothly. ‘Lag’ or other connectivity issues will disappear.
Imagine this: Engineers and architects will be able to access and share high-resolution 3D models and videos while out in the field; teachers could curate virtual field trips with high-res footage streamed live from interesting locations around the world; and businesses could save a bundle on air travel by scheduling interactive video conference calls that are so immersive it will feel like everyone’s in the same room. The possibilities really are endless.
That’s the hope anyway. In the meantime, there are many strategies like packet switching and bandwidth aggregation that telecom service providers can use to ensure optimal cloud performance.
5G is not quite ready for primetime, but it’s close. And in the meantime, the team at BullsEye is at the forefront of networking technology with advanced solutions like software-defined networking for business telecommunications, which helps businesses get as close as possible to seamless performance while using cloud applications.