Published on January 18th, 2023
Without question, the 5th generation of mobile technology (5G) is changing wireless communication in unprecedented ways. With speeds at least 20 times faster than 4G LTE and latency (lag time) in the one millisecond range, 5G is taking the mobile experience and real-time connectivity to new heights.
As 5G-capable devices and cell deployments become the new normal, their impact will be felt in both tangible and invisible ways.
These four by-products of 5G technology will impact our daily routines and transform how the world connects for decades to come.
1. Private 5G
Private cellular networks featuring LTE have been deployed by large organizations for many years to improve upon the speed, coverage, and security of in-house WiFi services.
The FCC first began licensing spectrum in the 3,550 MHz to 3,700 MHz range to private users in 2015.
As new use cases for private networks demand more bandwidth, reliability, and customization, the limits of private LTE services become evident. Private 5G networks are now enabling low-latency, high density use cases and mission-critical public safety applications.
Smart factories driven by autonomous robots, flexible transport systems, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication are obvious beneficiaries of this transformation.
Large venues like stadiums and malls will also deploy private 5G networks to offer high bandwidth services like streaming content and augmented reality to customers.
Ultimately, the “smart cities” of the future will rely upon a combination of public, private, and hybrid 5G networks to optimize the experience for 5G users.
2. Driverless Vehicles
While many oft-predicted visions of the future like robotic servants and jet packs remain on the drawing board, self-driving vehicles and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) have already arrived.
Billions of dollars have been invested in LiDAR, advanced cameras, and pattern recognition software, leaving the command, control, and communication systems that enable this technology as the gating factors. 5G and the internet of things (IoT) can deliver these missing ingredients.
Autonomous transportation on a large scale will require millisecond latency and 99.9999% reliability to safely guide vehicles through complex city traffic, including “rogue” drivers who insist on remaining off the grid.
5G vehicle-to-everything (V2E) communication will connect each car to the network, other vehicles, and even pedestrians, while providing on demand infotainment for the driver-turned-passenger.
Only the combined power of 5G and edge computing centers dispersed across the landscape will make driverless vehicles safe and reliable.
Defined by a minimum threshold of five thousand servers on a ten thousand square foot (or larger) footprint, hyperscale data centers continue to grow in size and quantity, owed to the rapid expansion of internet traffic and big data storage over the past decade.
While spawning many of the largest construction projects ever undertaken, hyperscale computing has allowed breakthrough technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to developed unencumbered by physical constraints.
Hyperscale computing has also enabled 5G by providing a home for the requisite computing power and data storage required to launch and scale new 5G verticals.
This includes network slices carrying a diversity of services over the same network infrastructure.
IoT sensing backed by 5G is returning the favor by creating opportunities for lights-out hyperscale data center operation, real-time power and temperature monitoring, and remote automation features that dramatically reduce data center power consumption and CO2 emissions.
4. Rural Broadband
The lack of available high-speed internet service is a concern for millions of Americans living in rural areas, and billions of others around the globe.
This digital divide became abundantly clear at the height of the pandemic, with students and workers in rural areas unable to leverage remote work and learning opportunities.
Rural broadband initiatives combine wireless networks, conventional fiber, “hybrid-fiber-coax” (HFC) installations, and low earth orbit (LEO) satellite networks to address this problem.
Although 5G will initially be deployed in densely populated urban centers, rural areas will benefit from improved 4G coverage and lower-frequency, mid-band 5G services, with access to more applications over time.
5G will also play a pivotal role in the integration of LEO networks like Starlink that untether broadband services from earthbound constraints.
5G can be deployed in remote areas more easily with the assistance of LEO satellite networks providing a cost-effective, high-speed wireless backhaul option for telco companies.
A New Generation Of Possibility
New 5G use cases will continue to change our lives in positive ways, whether we recognize the source or not.
Rural broadband and Private 5G are harnessing and reshaping this technology to meet the unmet needs of wireless customers and organizations worldwide.
At the same time, fundamental shifts within the transportation, healthcare, entertainment, and hyperscale computing industries will be felt by all, although not necessarily recognized as products of 5G.
This trend is likely to continue through 6G and beyond, as conventional cell architecture becomes more dispersed and seamless connectivity is woven into every aspect of daily life.
Image Source: unsplash.com
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