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5G, the 5th generation mobile network, which promises higher speeds with ultra-low latency, has started rolling across the country, starting with major urban centres. It will likely take 4 – 5 years for it to rollout across the globe, so 4G will be with us for a while.
The result is that many IT professionals are asking what is the real difference between the two, and why should I worry about it now?
While 4G networks can operate at a maximum speed of 300mbps-1Gbps, 5G has the capacity to operate at a speed of up to 20gbps. That is a massive increase. Imagine you were looking at movies. If 4G operated optimally at the 1gbps speed, you would have the potential to download a 15GB Blu-Ray movie in 2 minutes. That means if 5G were to operate at its maximum speed you could have the same movie downloaded in 6 seconds!
According to Doyle Research, 5G’s 1Gbps and higher bandwidth will have a significant impact on network configurations. It will give enterprise WAN managers more options for connecting branch sites and other remote users and like result in more adoption of SD-WAN.
The advantages of this higher speed are truly evident when you consider M2M (massive machine type communications). Machines will be able to bounce signals back and forth at speeds previously unattainable, with less effort required for the communication. This will result in lower better consumption increased operational efficiencies.
Other 5G advantages include speed and accuracy of authentication when roaming, improved ability speed of deployment such as you might need when providing WAN connectivity to a retail location or pop-up kiosk or office – something we are seeing more and more of with new COVID-19 protocols in place.
As 5G standards are enhanced, it is expected that there will be increased options for low-power IoT connectivity, too. The short term, IoT devices will need specific cellular compatibility to connect to 5G networks.
integrated into your private network. As with current cellular, some of the best applications are related to mobile connectivity and for use in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing mining, oil and gas, parts of supply chain management and other types of transportation.
Hospitals and other healthcare providers and manufacturers are also adopting 5G as it becomes available in their areas. For example, 5G has already had a major impact on surgical advancements. URLLC has allowed for the development of remote surgical tools such as the Da Vinci Surgical System. This system provides minimally invasive surgery and can be operated with higher accuracy than traditional tools, greatly reducing the risks associated with surgery.Without the lower latency offered from 5G networks, mission critical systems like the Da Vinci Surgical System would not be able to operate.
Think of it this way; 4G got the job done, but 5G makes the job efficient and expands the realm of what is possible. 4G shrunk information in order to make it easily accessible from things like cell phones and tablets, making it possible for rapid data and video download. 5G is making it possible to add networks to virtually anything, all while increasing speed and functionality by widening the path through which information can pass with high degrees of accuracy.
As you consider any kind of a network upgrade, or moving to an SD-WAN environment, it is important that you allow for potential adoption of 5G. Choosing technologies now that will accommodate both 4G and 5G, and access points that will work with Wi-Fi 6, will save you money, time and aggravation down the road.
That being said, using 5G will often require that you have more radio access points and, in these early days, there can be poor or no connectivity indoors. This means that you will need to assess how PCs, routers and other devices will be affected. Usually, using indoor micro cells, repeaters and distributed antennas will usually take care of the indoor problem.
For an assessment of what makes sense for your organisation now, and as it evolves, please feel free to contact us.
Such discussions usually require looking at Wi-Fi 6, too.
A little about Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 6 is garnering a lot of attention because most IT professionals consider it to be the biggest evolution of the basic Wi-Fi standard ever, largely because of two of the technologies used: OFDMA (orthogonal frequency division multiple access) and Nunaimo. In essence, OFDMA allows concurrent uplink and downlink communication with multiple clients, and allows varying bandwidth needs to be searched simultaneously. This is especially useful when you have low bandwidth.
Using a delivery truck analogy this time, today’s Wi-Fi is like having a small panel truck that can only deliver one package to one person, and then has to return back to the depot. Thanks to OFDMA, and how it divides the spectrum, Wi-Fi 6 like having a large transport truck that can deliver multiple types of packages to multiple people on a single trip.
Considering this, you can see why Wi-Fi 6 and 5G both need to be part of your ongoing network assessments and discussions. Upgrading to WIFI 6 and 5G is more than just a wireless network upgrade, it can be a step towards better connected, higher-efficiency business – provided the adoption and deployment fully consider all aspects of your business, network and user requirements.
Again, this is an area in which Cloud Managed Networks excels. Please feel free to contact us at