by Kevin Gillingham | Apr 17, 2020
It wasn’t long ago the technology marketplace was abuzz about 4G technology. The year was 2009, and the enthusiasm surrounding 4G was unparalleled. Users were promised mobile broadband speeds that would be 10-times faster than Turbo-3G – or roughly 80 Mbit/s in optimal conditions.
But fast forward to 2020 and 4G is old news. Today, tech experts, consumers, and business owners are anticipating the day when 5G technologies go mainstream. Amazingly, we might not be that far away.
What Makes 5G So Special?
While the shift from 3G to 4G felt more monumental to the average consumer, the transition from 4G to 5G is actually far more significant. Whereas 4G offered 10-times faster speeds, 5G promises to improve download rates by as much as 100 times over existing 4G networks.
Here’s a practical look at what this means:
- With 3G, it would take 26 hours to download a three-hour movie.
- With 4G, that time was reduced to just 6 minutes
- With 5G, that same movie can be downloaded in just 4 seconds.
The more technical explanation is that:
- 3G response times are typically around 120 milliseconds
- 4G offers response times between 15 and 60 milliseconds
- 5G promises a response to reduce response times to just 1 millisecond
Anticipating the Impact of 5G
While 5G will make things more convenient for the average mobile user, it won’t necessarily be life-changing. The real impact will be felt in the business world, where increased speeds will benefit operational efficiency, value offerings, and profit margins.
Here’s a look at some specific industries and applications that could be transformed by 5G in the coming years:
- Smart homes: As homes get smarter, 5G promises to make networks more reliable by reducing downtime and service outages. There’s also the promise of eliminating lag speeds and response times between when home devices are triggered and when users receive notifications. There’s also an expectation of greater security.
- Autonomous vehicles: Driverless cars depend on network speed to make split-second decisions that could mean the difference between being involved in a head-on collision and avoiding an accident. 5G technology is expected to have a significant influence on the development and consumerization of self-driving vehicles by making them smarter, faster, and – most importantly – safer.
- Medical device technology: 5G technology offers higher capacity and lower latency, which allows healthcare systems to monitor patients in real-time and use advanced medical device technology to address specific needs with better outcomes and lower risks.
- IoT: Naturally, increased 5G speeds will allow IoT devices to share data more efficiently and communicate faster. This will impact every business across all network-connected industries.
- Industrial equipment: 5G will revolutionize industrial businesses, factories, and manufacturing by replacing wired connections and speeding up processes. This will result in better economies of scale and lower input costs.
- Agricultural machinery: Many rural areas are still lacking in network speeds. 5G has the ability to bring faster networks that disrupt cumbersome processes and allow agricultural machinery to operate at peak efficiency. The result will be greater output, lower costs, and fatter margins.
This is just the start. By the time 5G becomes the norm, every industry and network-connected product or application will be directly influenced for the better.
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