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

5g For Business
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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. First of all, what is it?

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?

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.”

In addition to mobile broadband that most consumers will be familiar with, there are many other applications of 5G. For instance, it can be implemented with Internet of Things (IoT) networks to connect multiple devices, machines, and sensors together for more complex data collection operations.

How Does 5G Work?

What Is 5g

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.

Previous “Gs,” while less powerful, were stepping stones that led to this innovative new breakthrough. 1G can be described as analog voice, which was first transmitted this way in the 1980s. 2G followed about a decade later and started transferring digital audio.

3G was the beginning of mobile data as we know it back in the early 2000s, and it was such a breakthrough that Apple even named its feature product, the iPhone 3G, after the network it was compatible with.

From there, 4G LTE in the 2010s was an even faster, more capable online network that most smartphones today operate on. You’ve likely never had any problems watching YouTube videos or movies on a mobile device if you had a 4G LTE connection.

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 Impacts Will 5G Have on Society?

Both individuals and businesses will reap the benefits of faster browsing and download speeds, as well as lower latencies and a much larger capacity for more users.

Whether you’re an AI enthusiast, an online shopper ready for e-commerce implementations of augmented reality, or just a multiplayer gamer excited for virtual reality, there are many reasons to look forward to 5G.

For society as a whole, 5G will have immense implications for economic development. Let’s look at what the current studies show about the imminent impact of 5G’s rollout.

Two reports we’re looking at here are the 2020 report from IHS Markit and the 2021 Accenture reports for both the United States and Europe.

In terms of overall financial growth, we’re expecting by 2035 that $13.1 trillion worth of sales will be enabled partly by 5G technology.

22.8 million new jobs will also be created thanks to the network. GDP will grow by 10.8%, a rate of $265 billion annually, over the next 15 years.

Many industries will also see a major boost in activity thanks to 5G:

  • Retail will see a 50% sales growth, as well as the adoption of new features for consumers like in-store video experiences.
  • Manufacturing will likely see a 25% increase in productivity thanks to optimizations enabled by 5G.
  • Healthcare can start implementing remote care from home for patients, resulting in lower costs and better outcomes.
  • Automotives can use IoT and other 5G applications to cut down on traffic and reduce the cost of collisions by $3.6 billion in total.

These are just a few examples of industries that will benefit from 5G rollout. In fact, experts predict that entirely new markets will pop up as well. Cities, for instance, might start implementing more efficient infrastructure and safety features enabled by IoT.

And on top of all these changes, 5G is a huge step in the right direction for sustainability because it introduces new methods of cutting down on carbon emissions and boosting energy efficiency.

More optimized transportation routes will result in less gasoline usage in cars, and agricultural applications of 5G will enable reduced herbicide and pesticide usage.

What About 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?

5g Guide Questions Definition

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.

Now that the rollout is officially underway, many tech enthusiasts have claimed that it’s rather underwhelming for how publicized it was months prior.

The appeal of 5G is 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.

A Guide To All 5g

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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Frequently Asked Questions

5g FAQs

  • What does 5G Boasts Compared to the previous 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G?

    • Higher data transfer speeds (Up to 20 Gbps in some cases)
    • Lower latencies than ever thought possible
    • Greater network capacity and availability
    • Better reliability
    • A more unified platform for operations

    The result is unparalleled new potential for various industries everywhere, such as healthcare, logistics, transportation, manufacturing, and anything else in between. Remote work, which has seen an immense spike in popularity, will be empowered by 5G connectivity.

    This last point is important because it’s one of the largest evolutions compared to 4G. 5G can cover various spectrum types (licensed or unlicensed) and cover many bands (low to high). Connection methods can be between devices or through a multi-hop mesh.

  • How Can My Business Stay Up-to-Date with 5G Development?

  • 5G is hitting the scene at the perfect time to empower the rising trend of remote work and closer online collaboration amongst employees and teams.

    But only the companies with a serious approach to business communication will gain access to these benefits.

    Forward-thinking management groups know that cloud communication is the key to keeping your company afloat in an ever-competitive corporate landscape.

    Find out how major brands like Mitel, Digium, and Metaswitch have empowered their teams to use these technologies through softphone platforms like Cloud Softphone.

  • Who's Active in 5G?

  • While no one corporation owns the entirety of 5G, several groups have arisen in order to help manage its rollout.

    The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is the standards organization responsible for global specifications for 3G, 4G, LTE, and 5G.

    It also supported the development of 5G’s underlying technologies like the air interface.

  • What companies make part of the 3GPP?

    • Infrastructure management firms, including network operators
    • Manufacturers of smartphones and other devices that interface with the network
    • Vertical solution providers for specific industries like healthcare, financial, or retail
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Managing Director
Rafael Torreblanca
Managing Director
Rafael Torreblanca is the co-founder of Acrobits and has served as the Managing Director since the acquisition by SINCH. With over 25 years of experience in the telecoms and VoIP industries, Rafael is a pioneer in the global adoption of Mobile VoIP. With his leadership, Acrobits has continued to thrive and innovate, maintaining its position as a leader in the telecommunications sector.
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