What is 5G?
5G is the soon-to-be fifth-generation wireless broadband technology based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard. In layman’s terms 5G is a wireless connection built specifically to keep up with the major growth of devices that require an internet connection.
It’s also fast ….very fast. Check out these numbers:
5G has the potential to achieve download speeds of 800Gbps. This means you could download 33 HD films in a one second.
How will it help?
The ever-growing ecosystem of connected devices storing and sending data (or, the Internet of things) is supposedly going to enrich our lives, but to do this, these devices require greater connectivity than we can currently deliver. Enter 5G, the supposed answer to this problem. Gartner predict that 20.8 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020 and this is where 5G will help cope with the predicted increase in user and machine interaction.
What will it enable for business?
We know how fast it could be, but capacity will also increase, enabling billions of connected devices to interact with each other. The view that work is something we do, not a place we go, becomes more of a reality as connectivity and capacity becomes more readily available for people. With over 25 billion “objects” connected and online by 2020 (Gartner prediction) the amount of data and information available to businesses will be enormous. Understanding how to use this information on customers and turning it into actionable insight, is a huge opportunity for businesses.
What are the Challenges?
5G is coming, but one of the biggest challenges it will face is standardisation. Having a potentially huge impact on industries such as finance, logistics, travel and healthcare, it’s critical to ensure it’s universal – this means ensuring cost enables rather than inhibits use-cases.
Where do we go from here?
Commercial deployment is a long way off – all testing has been conducted in laboratory conditions. It’s been suggested that pilot networks will be launched in 2018 with commercial networks live by 2020 but this most likely will not mean mass rollout. 5G (like 4G) will be rolled out in stages and will complement existing technologies. Whilst its potential is exciting, we’ve all got a long way to go until it’s a reality.