Surely, you’ve heard the hype: 5G is coming. In fact, in many places, it’s here already. But … so what? Is this technology really that different from previous generations of wireless networks? And, if so, can 5G legitimately benefit business owners?
Truth be told, 5G will revolutionize almost every facet of our society. This includes the ways businesses operate and interact with consumers. An understanding of how the technology works, what effects it will have on the way business is done, and how it could be utilized in your field will equip you with the ability to take advantage of the technology.
What Is 5G:
5G – which stands for the fifth generation of public wireless networks – works differently from previous generations of wireless networks, such as 4G. Unlike its predecessor, 5G doesn’t rely solely on radio towers to transmit signals.
Instead, 5G signals are transmitted from small antennas, which can be attached to structures like streetlights and buildings. These antennas transmit data over shorter distances quickly. In effect, they have a higher capacity for multiple devices than traditional 4G radio towers do.
The Changes 5G Technology Will Bring:
5G will benefit a business reliant on low latency, an increased ability to connect more devices on a single network, and enhanced bandwidth. But, unless you’re a gamer or tech-junkie, that probably doesn’t mean much to you.
Let’s break it all down.
1. 5G Networks Have Very Low Latency to Benefit Real-time Reaction Speed
Network latency is the time it takes for something, such as a data packet (like an email), to be sent and received. Compared to 4G, the latency of 5G can be up to 400-times as fast.
A network with such low latency will enable various technological innovations and have a tremendous impact on businesses that depend upon real-time reactions. For example, connecting people to data almost instantaneously can benefit both public safety and security.
Low latency also enables the Internet of Things to continue to expand, and that brings us to the next benefit.
2. 5G Will Enable an Unprecedented Number of Devices to Connect on a Single Network
The Internet of Things, or IoT, sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. Put simply, the IoT can be thought of as anything with an on/off switch that can connect to the internet. Things on the IoT range from the cellphone in your pocket, to smart-dishwashers, to wearable devices like a Fitbit.
The analyst firm, Gartner, estimates that there are already 26 billion devices connected within the IoT, and that number is sure to sky-rocket in coming years.
5G will allow for the many devices connected across the IoT to communicate with each other at incredible speeds. Additionally, it will allow more devices to connect across one single network. For businesses that rely on many machines communicating with or without human interaction, 5G will increase productivity and efficiency, thus increasing business output.
3. 5G Networks have Increased Enhanced Bandwidth
Bandwidth is what allows 5G networks to connect more devices across a network. In other words, it is the increased bandwidth of 5G that enables the network to support those vast interconnections between all the devices on the IoT.
Increased bandwidth will mean that you won’t lose connection when in a crowded area, and that large files can be shared more seamlessly. For businesses, this will translate into improvements for remote workers, faster connectivity, and stronger connections.
Why Business Owners Should Care About 5G:
5G will fundamentally change the way businesses operate by reshaping the connections between logistics, infrastructure, and transportation services.
Over the coming years, more than a trillion dollars are going to be invested to optimize and equip the world for 5G. Yet, according to a poll conducted by Barclays in 2019, only 28% of businesses understand 5G and the possibilities the technology could offer.
An understanding of the technology equips business owners to consider how they can incorporate 5G into their pre-existing plans, or how existing plans should be adapted to take advantage of all that this technology has to offer.
Determining if 5G can Benefit Your Business:
Already, 5G is the fastest growing mobile technology in history. Some technology will continue to run on 4G in the future. Nonetheless, 5G networks are expected to continue to proliferate and eventually take over the previous generation.
With this in mind, it’s wise to begin considering today if and how 5G can supercharge your business.
However, equipping your business for 5G today may not be practical for all. Adapting a business to take advantage of 5G’s capabilities will be expensive. The hardware equipment necessary to support the network will cost more than comparable 4G equipment. Additionally, scaling up cloud-computing provisions could also prove costly.
Asking questions such as ‘Will higher data speeds and superior network reliability translate to out-pacing competitors in my industry?’ may assist as you decide whether or not these investments are worthwhile.
If there are autonomous aspects of your business, or if you rely heavily on video-conferencing or controlling processes remotely, the switch will likely be worth your time, money, and effort. If machine learning and AI are at the heart of your enterprise, the same case can be made. These processes, too, will become streamlined from the increased bandwidth and lower latency of 5G networks.
It is in your best interest to read more to gain a better understanding of how 5G can benefit your business. From there, developing a plan for how to take advantage of the technology will give your business a competitive advantage for years to come.
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