Ok, we have all heard the hype. 5G is blazing fast, it will allow you to do things that we never thought capable over a cellular network. But, what does that mean to your day to day life?
As a bit of a primer, 5G brings three things to the network that make it different from previous networks, namely the current 4G (LTE) that we have now:
- Its gain in speed is simply incredible. It offers upload and download speeds that easily beat most available landline connections.
- The latency (the amount of time it takes to send a bit of information back and forth) is so low, it opens up the possibility of truly real-time applications like never before.
- The network offers a mind-boggling number of users in a set geographical area
This all sounds great, but what does this mean for life for the average person? Glad you asked, here you go:
Reduced Internet inequality around the world
For many of us, it is hard to believe that everyone in the world does not have access to high-speed Internet. And, this is not just in third world countries, but also in major North American cities. Many still use dial-up as their main access method or have no access at all.
5G will help to alleviate this for both urban and rural users around the world. For urban ones (where 5G may be readily available), they can now access key things like online government forms, e-learning and more. Although 5G may not reach many rural customers right away, the expansion of 4G still offers a great experience for many of these things.
Improved Rural life
This point is linked to the first point … people in many rural areas will see a greater quality of life. They will have better access to healthcare (through advanced e-health), to education and to open businesses. This will help to raise the level of health, income and to open up many opportunities for advancement.
Increased urban capacity should equal lower data rates
Try browsing a video or making a real-time video conference call in most downtown cores during rush hour … yeah, it might not always work like you want. Network operators have done a great job in building out capacity, but there is always a finite amount of capacity. 5G will help to alleviate this and will in fact possibly create excessive capacity (if you can believe it).
This extra capacity should help to reduce the costs of cellular data, allowing for competitive data rates and the likelihood of much bigger data plans (even unlimited) becoming available.
Reduce the needs for office space (by changing how remote work is done)
The past month has seen millions of workers being forced to work remote, affecting the availability of tools like Zoom. It has also caught the attention of those who own and operate commercial real estate properties. Many companies have found that although it has taken some adjustments, many are operating well with employees working from home in their pajamas. It brings up a question … do companies need so much office space going forward?
5G will help to expedite this trend. When workers find out how great of an experience 5G brings, they will want to work from home more than ever. Employers will also love the ability to lock down corporate traffic and keep it off of the public Internet. This may reduce the demand for office space in most urban areas.
We will monitor and track everything
There is a huge trend towards making things “smart” in our lives … watches, scales and heating units are just a few of the examples. This works great when the device is expected to be used inside of a home or office as there is usually an available Wi-Fi network to connect to. However, this becomes a bit of an issue when the devices are used in multiple areas or while mobile.
Today, many have used cellular-based devices to track key shipments, but the cost was often difficult to justify for many applications. Technologies like CAT-M and NB-IoT will lower both the upfront costs and on-going costs, while the aforementioned uptick in network capacity will ensure that devices always have available resources to connect.