As we use mobile technology on a wider and wider scale, both for business and personal use, the need for faster and more reliable connectivity has never been so important.
5G is the next generation of wireless networking technology and promises to deliver ultra-fast speeds and responsiveness to connect everything around us without interruption.
Practicality and Adoption
Although this technology enables super fast wireless application, the proportion of the network will still need to be fiber fed and for most of the country, this infrastructure is not in place.
While urban areas may enjoy 5G very soon – and a handful already are – there are still suburban and rural locations that do not have the framework to support this. There is then the matter of the locality of the transmitters, which will be required to deliver 5G frequencies.
Although ground based antenna similar to that of 3G/4G networks will provide support, the short delivery distances of 5G wave frequencies will mean they will have to be closer to the end user for maximum benefit.
There will also be a few issues with coverage too, as the higher frequencies used in 5G applications have difficulty penetrating solid objects such as walls, buildings and windows. This could be solved in the short-term with smaller hubs of 5G, which can be implemented in largely populated areas such as major cities.
In terms of speed, it is promised that this network will support significant improvements compared to that of 4G. In recent trials, this has been achieved but for real-world applications, it is yet unknown the exact capabilities. Sharing similar traits to 4G connectivity, speeds may be affected by coverage, signal quality and how many people are using the network at once. Speeds may also not be fully realized, as users do not have the smartphones to exploit the full benefits of 5G.
The cost alone of this infrastructure investment is a huge consideration for companies looking to provide this service and at present only appears to be considered where it makes economic sense.
Will 5G replace your home broadband?
While 5G is still some time away for most consumers, one of the most obvious applications of this technology will be to replace your home broadband service. There have already been trials in the US and these have demonstrated that you won’t need cables laid to enjoy fast Internet speeds.
This technology may not be seen as a direct replacement but purely a better option for people that can access sufficient signal. It will also be a great option for people that move around a lot, as this means they will be able to take their contract with them and not be restricted by locality.
When can we expect 5G to be mainstream?
The network has been evolving and upgrading for a long time, but 5G will be a giant leap forward. Target markets are beginning to see roll outs right now and expect it to be more widely available by 2020. 5G smartphones are already available in 2019 and estimates suggest $50 to $100 billion will be spent in the coming years.