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Three 5G expectations: reality or myth?

20 Jan 2020

Three 5G expectations: reality or myth?

Any major leap forward in technology is naturally accompanied by an avalanche of hype, and 5G has seen more than most. With 2019 in full swing, 5G has probably reached the peak of inflated expectations. Amidst all of this noise, a number of stories about 5G have sprung up and are being perpetuated in the market. But do they really stack up? Here we break down three common messages about 5G … but are they reality or myth?

One: 5G will change the way we live and work overnight

There is no doubt that 5G will change the way we live and work, but it won’t happen overnight. Think of it more like an evolution that will ultimately revolutionise our world. In fact, the prediction is that the impact won’t fully be realised until a number of years from now, as far out as 2025.

With so many facets to 5G, IT and business leaders are just trying to get their heads around things and understand what it means for them. What will 5G bring? How can it transform my business? Add a bit of the uncharted territory into the mix – such as new business models that have yet to be conceptualised – it’s understandable that the 5G journey will take time.

Although the evolution will take place over a number of years, that doesn’t mean they can ignore it. Now is the time for businesses to explore 5G – to understand the technology and most importantly, to explore the possibilities and reimagine what it could do for their industry, business and customers.

Verdict: Myth

Two: 5G is much more than just faster speeds

Let’s make it clear, 5G isn’t “just 4G but a bit faster”. It’s true that data will eventually be transmitted as fast as 10Gbps, but it’s the combination of many 5G features and benefits (coverage, speed, latency, network slicing and more) which will ultimately enable exciting new possibilities for business.

Let’s start with latency. 5G will drastically reduce the time between performing an action and getting a response. This will enable technologies like augmented reality to be utilised by businesses to enable, for example, engineers to see a virtual layout of a system and get remote expert assistance to fix it, all in real time.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will flourish with 5G, allowing millions, if not billions, of devices to be connected around the world. 5G technologies, including Narrowband IoT, will enable far more devices to connect simultaneously to mobile sites through active antennas. On top of that, the low latency and high reliability opens the door to future applications like autonomous vehicles or drone control.

5G also opens the possibility of putting computing power closer to the edge of the network to reduce latency even further – it’s called Multi-Access Edge Computing or MEC. Think of online gaming as an example (no delay between pressing a button and your game reacting) and then extend the possibilities to include anything that uses automation or virtual reality and could benefit from near instantaneous responses.

Verdict: Reality

Three: 5G will replace fixed connectivity

Fixed connectivity isn’t going anywhere, but in the future a combination of technologies will create more flexible, more intelligent networks that deliver incredible possibilities. 5G is the next generation of mobile comunications, but its impact will extend beyond pure mobile usage into areas traditionally regarded as fixed connectivity and into new applications for IoT connections. As well as mobile services being available, private 5G services and 5G as an access mechanism to fixed networks will also be available soon.

Unlike other transitions from one mobile generation to the next, 5G will build on 4G through what is referred to as 4G Evolution (4G Evo). This means that many of the advanced capabilities being discussed, such as network slicing for traffic prioritisation, high density IoT connections and beamforming for more reliable connections may be available via 4G Evo in advance of the full implementation of the 5G standard. So although 5G won’t replace fixed connectivity, it will impact how networks work and unlock new potential.

Verdict: Myth

Will the real 5G please stand up?

To get the real picture of what’s really different about 5G and what to expect, read our eBook and make sure your business understands what is needed to prepare for 5G.

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