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5G Technology: What is, Where It’s At, and What’s to Come

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Let us start by saying that 5G technology is still going to be transformative. There’s no denying that. But the rollout of 5G technology hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.

In a past blog post, we talked extensively about the huge potential of the 5G cellular network compared to the standard 4g and called it “the new global standard.” Now that the rollout is officially underway, many tech enthusiasts have claimed that it’s rather underwhelming for how publicized it was months prior.

That article attributed the appeal of 5G to its vastly improved network latency, efficiency, connection density, traffic capacity, and general performance. While we certainly weren’t wrong there, several major shifts in the modern technological landscape have occurred since then.

Acrobits has made a considerable effort to prepare for 5G adoption, so let’s talk about where 5G is today. Spoiler alert: while it might not live up to every rumor and prediction, 5G is still a vital step in the evolution of worldwide data and will enable a lot of new technologies going forward.

What Is 5G? And What Does It Offer?

As its name suggests, 5G is the fifth generation of the wireless mobile network that provides Internet connectivity to devices and users around the globe. You will likely use it on your smartphone someday.

The newest generation of this mobile network is known as 5G, and it’s starting to see initial phases of adoption by smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. But what is 5G? And is it truly a breakthrough in global connectivity?

How Does 5G Work?

To make the signal clearer and more accessible to more people, 5G uses several underlying technologies:

  • 5G’s New Radio air interface
  • Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) that spreads a signal among several channels to cut down on interference
  • Wide bandwidth methods like sub-6 GHz

The result of all these new tools working together is that 5G is more flexible and capable than ever before, and only time will tell how many new use cases will be found for it. Large-scale implementations of IoT and more mission-critical communications will soon be possible with 5G.

Why is 5G Better than 4G?

5G technology is considered superior to 4G for several key reasons:

  1. Higher Data Transfer Speeds: 5G can achieve speeds up to 20 Gbps, significantly faster than 4G. This allows for quicker downloads and smoother streaming experiences.
  2. Lower Latency: 5G offers much lower latencies compared to 4G, enhancing responsiveness in applications like gaming, virtual reality, and real-time data processing.
  3. Greater Network Capacity and Availability: 5G networks can handle more simultaneous connections than 4G, accommodating the growing number of IoT devices and high-bandwidth applications.
  4. Improved Reliability: 5G networks are more reliable, ensuring stable connections even in crowded areas or during peak usage times.
  5. Unified Platform for Operations: Unlike 4G, 5G can operate across various spectrum types (licensed or unlicensed) and bands (low to high), offering a more versatile and comprehensive connectivity solution. This includes device-to-device connections or multi-hop mesh networks.
  6. Industry Applications: 5G’s capabilities unlock potential across various industries like healthcare, logistics, transportation, and manufacturing. It supports advanced applications like remote surgery, autonomous vehicles, and complex industrial automation.
  7. Empowering Remote Work: With its high speed and reliability, 5G is particularly beneficial for the increasing trend of remote work, offering faster and more consistent internet connections for telecommuters. A more unified platform for operations overall.

Will 5G Technology Speed up Business Communication?

As far as businesses are concerned, 5G will create a new type of network that can connect virtually everything together, including machines, devices, and people. 5G delivers higher peak data speeds, more reliability, and better accessibility compared to 4G. The specific benefits are:

  • Higher speed:
    On average, that’s 50 Mbps as opposed to only 10 Mbps.
  • Network latency:
    Or less than a millisecond compared to the 50ms of 4G. Latency refers to the amount of time it takes for a device to communicate with its network. High latency may result in lower-quality video calls, dropped connections, and slow video streaming.
  • Data throughput:
    G supports 50 Exabytes a month of data traffic compared to 7.2 for 4G. It also allows a peak data rate of up to 20 Gb/s, while 4G is still stuck at 1 Gb/s.
  • Connection type:
    5G is available at a 30 GHz spectrum and enables up to a million connections per square kilometer, while the statistics for 4G are 3 GHz and 100 thousand connections per square kilometer respectively.

“Network providers are still working on the infrastructure and installation of 5G,
but, once ready, it will vastly optimize the way we use mobile networks.”

What About Those 5g Conspiracies I’ve Been Hearing?

We can’t talk about 5G technology without at least mentioning the conspiracies behind it. Many people claim that wireless technology causes hidden health problems in humans and can even contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

While studies have shown that radio-frequency radiation is a risk, there is no concrete proof that 5G specifically will be a significant problem for most of us.

What Applications Will 5G Drive?

You might hear about 5G technology in the context of smartphone mobile data connections, but it goes beyond that application.

  • VoIP: Businesses using 5G for VoIP and softphone platforms will especially appreciate its capabilities. Better packet prioritization means fewer dropped calls, higher quality audio and video, and generally a more reliable environment for communication services.
  • Internet of Things (IoT:All the smart speakers, connected thermostats, and other devices are connected to the Internet for easy management and use. Unlocking new functionalities using online connections is becoming a trend by itself, and 5G connections eliminate the bandwidth limitations of the past for IoT to march on.
  • AR and VR: The lower latency will enable augmented reality technologies like AR glasses and VR headsets, which some experts believe will eventually replace smartphones.
  • Edge computing: Industries love edge computing because it allows for better scalability and spread of computing resources across remote locations. The low latency of 5G enables devices to tap into cloud resources without having to use a centralized server.
  • Artificial intelligence: 5G will undoubtedly accelerate the adoption of AI technologies. Collecting information and making decisions automatically will be much easier in a connected world.

How will specific industries react to these changes? Many experts already have new methodologies planned in a 5G-enabled market.

  • Retail: Stores can manage inventory over a network and enable transactions without any cashiers. Instead, the store keeps track of what’s inside the cart and automatically completes the purchase.
  • Healthcare: Tying into the IoT trend from before, doctors can use wearable devices to detect symptoms and alert doctors of potential allergic reactions to certain medicines.
  • Manufacturing: AI-powered by 5G will provide predictive maintenance on the factory floor. An AI can analyze industrial processes and alert management of issues regarding quality control with high precision.
  • Agriculture: Data collection is especially powerful in the field of farming. With sensors detecting areas of disease, dryness, or pests, we can minimize the amount of chemicals and pesticides we use in our food.

The stronger Quality of Service (QoS) of 5G is what companies should be most interested in. Technologies and trends that were unfeasible with earlier networks are now on the table, and the various startups and businesses can’t wait to jump on the bandwagon.

What is the State of 5G Now?

As of December 2023 and early 2024, there have been significant developments in 5G technology:

  1. Enterprise Revolution with 5G Broadband Networks: 5G is increasingly seen as a digital innovation primarily for businesses, enhancing data transfer speeds and integrated digital connections, crucial for real-time data and operational connectivity​[].
  2. Carrier Upgrades and Collaborations: Major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are implementing significant technology upgrades and launching purpose-built devices for 5G. For instance, Verizon partnered with Zebra Technologies to launch mobile device and software solutions for industries like transportation and manufacturing.
  3. Advanced Speed Achievements: T-Mobile, in collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm, tested a 5G standalone millimeter wave on its production network, achieving speeds exceeding 4.3 Gbps.
  4. Investment in Infrastructure: AT&T plans to invest around $14 billion over the next five years to scale open radio access networks (open RAN) across the U.S., which is critical for 5G infrastructure.
  5. Business Impact: 5G is expected to enhance business outcomes significantly through better insights, improved productivity, accelerated automation, and better application performance. This includes hyper-rapid transaction settlements and other digital payment advances.

While the coronavirus outbreak slowed down rollout schedules, 5G networks have launched around the world across the US, UK, and Australia. And much like with previous network changes, it’s likely that 5G will coexist alongside earlier networks. Your phone will, for instance, fall back to LTE if the 5G signal drops.

In the US, the major network providers lead the charge with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Verizon was first to the 5G party, but T-Mobile has recently made large investments into the change and now has the highest 5G coverage overall.

The start may be slow, but 5G is still destined to fundamentally change how we live and work. Fast response times, higher bandwidth connections, and unparalleled reliability mean new ways for devices and people to interact. Prepare yourself for the 5G technology revolution.

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