5G or not 5G- What, When and How it Affects IT and Cloud

 

Before entering the cloud and IT business I spent more than a decade working with wireless technologies for business.  During this time, I saw the advent of data to cell phones and the transitions of the generations of data offerings that have been delivered. Generation 2 (G2) brought very rudimentary data to cell phones such as text messaging. G3 brought the internet and its many applications such as mobile email. G4 brought us the high-speed internet we use today offering instant access to applications such as real time video. With each transition of the technology, corporate marketing and spin became more extraordinary creating more time between the introduction and the practical delivery of the new product. Now comes 5G and I expect this trend to continue. Although we hear of the current availability of 5G from wireless carriers the products are not fully developed for practical use and are likely years away for business applications.

What is 5G and who will provide it?

The latest technology of 5G wireless data will be provided to us by the same carriers that delivered wireless service in the past, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. Although the primary standards for 5G have been set there is still much to be developed in the technology and will likely be introduced as different versions. This will be similar to 4G when it was first launched with its distinct alternatives of WiMAX and LTE.  5G has already been split into different delivery types, 5G, 5GE, and 5 GHz. Verizon’s first introduction to 5G is designed for the home and small office while AT&T is focused on mobile devices in very limited markets. Most believe there will be fixed wireless versions for point to point circuits for business. At this point, it isn’t clear what versions each provider will offer in 5G as it matures and becomes universally delivered.

The technology of 5G

Similar to all previous generations in the evolution of wireless data 5G offers greater speeds as its primary driver for acceptance. What may slow widespread deployment of 5G is the fact that 4G technology continues to improve and provide greater speeds for users. However, the wireless spectrum available to 4G providers is running short so the transition to 5G is imminent. Most of the 5G technology will be provided on an alternate wireless spectrum, above 6 GHz, and not provided to wireless consumers previously. This new swath of spectrum will offer much greater capacity and speed but won’t come without its own challenges. To achieve these higher speeds the carriers will need to use much higher frequency transmissions called millimeter waves. Millimeter waves cannot penetrate buildings, weather, and trees as well as the previous frequencies. To overcome this wireless carriers will need to implement additional, smaller cell sites called microcells. Many wireless carriers have already implemented microcells complementing the macrocells used in previous offerings of wireless service. Building out additional data network and cell sites such as microcells is expensive and time-consuming. This will add to the delay of a fully implemented 5G offering from the carriers.

Business advantages of 5G

To say that one of the advantages of 5G are greater data speeds would be true, but there is much more to it for business applications. The following are the primary advantages, related to speed, that 5G will provide for businesses for cloud computing.

  • Lower latency – Wireless 5G networks will decrease latency, the time it takes data packets to be stored and retrieved, greatly. This will benefit many business applications such as voice, video and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Multiple connections- The base stations, or cell sites of 5G, will handle many more simultaneous connections than 4G. This will increase speed for users and capacity for providers.
  • Full duplex transmission- 5G networks can transmit and receive data simultaneously. This full duplex transmission increases the speed and reliability of wireless connectivity enabling new applications and enhancing exiting ones.

Cloud and business solutions enhanced by 5G

It is difficult to say exactly how businesses will benefit from 5G service since it is still being developed. However, the advantages listed above lend themselves to several applications which are sure to be enhanced for business.

The increased speeds and decreased latency 5G offers will expand options and availability for disaster recovery (DR) and data network backups for businesses. When speeds previously only offered to business via wireline can be delivered without wires business continuity will be increased. Many businesses outages today are caused by accidental cable cuts and power outages that wireless 5G will eliminate. It is also possible wireless point to point circuits could replace traditionally wired circuits for the business’s primary data and internet service.

The technology and increasing number of the internet of things (IOT) applications will be enhanced by 5G. The increased speed and connectivity capacity will allow this ubiquitous technology to continue to grow. Similarly, the trend for more and faster edge computing connectivity will benefit. This will enhance applications such as autonomous vehicles that require instant connectivity to networks and other vehicles. Content delivery networks like the ones used for delivery of Netflix will be able to deliver their products faster and more reliably. These are just a few examples of the technologies today that are demanding 5G’s advantages and will expedite its availability.

While the technology to deliver 5G is mostly completed, the timing of widespread implementation for business is still unclear. This is attributed in part to the improvement of 4G speeds in its ability to satisfy today’s consumer’s needs. More importantly, new technologies are not accepted in the marketplace because the technology is ready but rather because the business applications demand them. 5G technologies will be driven by many business applications but widespread acceptance won’t occur for at least another two years. If you want to consult with a partner that has expertise in all aspects of telecom, wireless and cloud technologies, give us a call and we will be glad to find the right solution for your business.

Contact @ Jim Conwell (513) 227-4131      jim.conwell@twoearsonemouth.net

www.twoearsonemouth.net

we listen first…

 

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