The future of mobile requires high-speed internet connectivity options. Specifically, the type of connectivity which 5G offers. Ultimately, the country that leads the world in the adoption of 5G technology will have a distinct technological, economic, and national security advantage over other countries. The average consumer may not know all the details. But they are learning the gist about the potential power behind 5G. They are aware of the technology because it continues to make headline news. Moreover, the public has been using smart devices for decades now. So they can easily understand how future innovations and wireless applications will need high-speed connectivity to work.
What is it?
This is the next generation of mobile technology. It makes a dramatic leap in performance improvements. It promises to decrease the latency issues and boost network response time. This is important for future and current innovation breakthroughs relying on high-speed bandwidth services. This includes things like AR-enabled smart cities and driverless cars. However, the technology goes beyond pure data speed. It also addresses latency. Reducing latency is important, especially for applications that cannot afford delay time between sending and receiving instructions. Applications such as robotic surgery is a great example. Each command that the robotic system receives must be within in 1 millisecond or less. These response times must be consistent for such a system to be accepted.
Every generation of mobile connectivity has been represented by not only raw speed but also the key capabilities that come with it. Following this logic Over the past 40 years, each G has represented what we could do with our phones. 1G gave us sound, 2G gave us text, 3G exposed the mobile web, while 4G made everything about ten times faster. So what will 5G be known for?
It promises to be superfast. Speeds reach 20GBs per second coupled with near-zero latency rate. The difference with 5G is this technology is not limited to phones. A major benefit includes systems of connected things, which all are able to share data in real-time in order to achieve something bigger than one individual element.
Think in terms of driverless cars as an example. Those cars using the tech can all sense the other cars around it using that same technology, making passengers safer. All of the networked robotic machinery in manufacturing environments will benefit from 5G technology. Each station can communicate and update each other with assigned tasks. Others have conceived new coordinated drone systems. They predict drones can be made to plant, water, fertilize, and protect crops autonomously. These are just some examples of the unique benefits expected to materialize along with 5G.
Investment to build on
5G is an investment for the next decade. As in previous mobile transitions, we’ve seen the bulk of big changes happening years after the initial announcement. All four major US carriers do have some form of 5G wireless. Although it’s a very limited rollout. If you do spend the money on a 5G ready phone now, you most likely will need to wait until your carrier and your city takes advantage of it, for you to see a big difference.
The primary reason for the delay is the amount of capital investment needed to realize a majority rollout. Carriers need to spend billions of dollars on building new infrastructure. 5G technology uses different network frequencies that are more sensitive to environmental issues like obstructions and weather. Speeds are achieved with millimeter waves which have another drawback. They don’t travel very far. Right now, 5G broadcasting stations transmit well for only a few hundred meters. As more distribution options come along, 5G benefits will flow beyond the densely populated urban areas carriers are currently targeting.
5G also brings its share of controversy. In fact, there is a lot of generated friction from a technology that isn’t operational yet. What are the concerns? First, there is a national security issue that must be resolved. Secondly, there are reported health concerns. How quickly these matters can be resolved impacts the timeline for full implementation.
The first elements related to 5G that must get addressed are the known national security risks. Concerns have been generated by the Chinese dominance in the 5G global market place. If infrastructure in Europe and other parts of the world are mostly Chinese based systems, the U.S. government agencies operating in these environments would have risk.
Additionally, China has become more adversarial to U.S. interests in recent years. One specific Chinese company, Huawei, was targeted by a U.S. executive order banning telecommunication vendors linked to spying. Huawei is the tech giant supported by the Chinese government. Because Huawei was caught spying, it is also at the center of a dispute between the U.S. and China over 5G espionage. Currently, it is unclear how this will playout and what the long terms impact on 5G could be.
The other major hurdle for 5G is about a much different, but equally controversial topic. This is about the potential adverse health impact 5G transmission waves could have on people. Homeowners all across the country worry about mini 5G cell towers going up right outside their homes. Opposition voices broadcast the worry that the 5G high-frequency millimeter networks are untested. Uncontested rollout with little health and environmental impact studies worries many consumer groups.
Sure, we will need to wait a little while for smart cities filled with driverless cars and swarms of networked drones. With every major technological advancement, comes concerns, obstacles, opponents, and advocates. 5G is no different. While the solutions are being decided, we must be patient. We feel the wait will be worth it, as things will get much faster and life more comfortable.