If you were running late in the 1980s, you either showed up late or found a payphone and called ahead; today, a quick text — “running late sorry” — does the trick. If you got lost driving in the 1980s, you drove on and on until you got un-lost or stopped at a gas station to ask for directions; today, you have GPS and Google Maps.
It was a different world back then. Today, we are years into a digital revolution. Mobile communication has forever changed the pattern and rhythm of our lives. Technological innovation has been basically nonstop, and it is still going strong. Much vaunted 5G networks, when they finally come online, will deliver super-low latency, impressively high throughput, and incredible connectivity.
Future-facing organizations are trying to predict what the true impact of 5G will be. The question many are asking right now — “Where is 5G, and how long until it can help us?” — is best answered without hype and hyperbole. 5G is coming but it’s not here quite yet.
Companies will pay for 5G
A recent Gartner survey of 200 IT and business leaders indicates that three-quarters of end-user organizations would be willing to pay more for 5G mobile network capabilities, with companies in the telecommunications space being the most willing. However, most companies appear to be struggling to understand 5G, and specifically its potential and its possible effects. A great majority (92 per cent) of organizations asked have no expectation that 5G will lead to a boost in revenues; rather, they look at 5G as a means of naturally evolving their mobile network.
Kinks and misunderstandings
While more than half of those surveyed by Gartner believe they will (or will be able to) use 5G’s enhanced capabilities to drive Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities, 4G will be able to service the majority of IoT requirements for the next five years or so. Companies also appear to be laboring under a misapprehension that 5G will be at full capacity by 2020. In its white paper “State of 5G 2017 and Beyond,” cloud-based network solutions leader Cradlepoint makes it clear that the technology, while getting closer to the mark, is not yet there. In early trials, 5G is excellent for point-to-point, line-of-sight communications between antennas that don’t move. With NSA (Non Stand Alone) architecture and pre-3GPP specifications (adding mobility and interoperability capabilities), today’s 5G can get around interoperability, cell-site handoff, and mobility issues because these deployments are fixed. The data speeds are still tremendous, reaching several gigabits per second and keeping up with fiber speeds.
5G is coming soon
5G is still at least a few years away. In the meantime, organizations around the world are working to make it happen. When 5G finally comes — more than likely in the 2020 to 2022 range — it will be with the noise and fanfare befitting what will amount to a new technological era. On a human level, it stands to be an interesting time, with 5G carriers providing the kind of connectivity and speed and reliability that most in 2017 can only imagine. In everything from streaming video to online gaming to medical device connectivity, the 5G world will be an exciting one indeed.
Cradlepoint is the global leader in cloud-based network solutions for connecting people, places, and things over wired and wireless broadband—and is working with industry leaders to lead the way with 5G. Cradlepoint NetCloud is a software and services platform that extends the company’s 4G LTE-enabled multi-function routers and ruggedized M2M/IoT gateways with cloud-based management and Software-defined Network services.