With 5G being hailed as the next digital revolution, we've pulled together some Frequently Asked Questions covering what exactly 5G is and why it should be at the forefront of your mind to future-proof your business and take your business mobile solution to the next level.
What is 5G?
5G the successor to 4G is able to send information faster and respond quicker to commands faster than we have ever seen before. With 5G you will have all the capabilities you had previously with 3G and 4G, things like browsing the internet on your phone or streaming videos and sharing documents. But with 5g, there will be transformational opportunities too. Hyper-connectivity between smart devices, machines and people means we will start seeing intelligent new processes that have just not been conceivable or possible until now. In short 5g is driving digital transformation.
What makes 5G so fast?
5G is expected to be able to reach speeds in excess of 1Gb/s and reduce latency to less than 10ms. In a few years we could easily see speeds of up 10Gb/s, thats 100x faster than current 4G speeds. A movie that takes around 10minutes to download on 4G will be available in as little as 5 seconds on 5G.
The speed of a wireless system like 5G depends on the amount of information that you can send over a unit of area, otherwise known as area-throughput. With 5G, advanced technology means information can be sent in a more efficient way and, by using higher frequencies, there is more available bandwidth for the information to be sent. Combining the latter means a significantly faster network.
Is 5G just a faster version of 4G?
The short answer is no.
5G is much more than just a fast version of 4G. Whilst 3G gave us video calls and first generation mobile data, 4G brought us higher speeds with mobile internet and the ability to stream videos it is unlikely 5G will be defined by any one thing. Referred to as the "network of networks" bringing together multiple strands and applied in a myriad of ways in both the home and workplace.
How does 5G reduce latency?
Latency is a measure of delay, usually measure in milliseconds. It's the time it takes to get across the network to its end destination and back again. We experience latency as responsiveness e.g when loading a web page. A slow network, large amounts of data being sent and bandwidth are typically things that cause lag. 5G's bandwidth, capacity and overall speed overcomes these problems cutting response down to just 1 millisecond. This means you can look forward to lightning fast responses and a whole host of opportunities from self-driving cars to downloading entire box-sets in a matter of seconds.
Will 5G replace Wi-Fi?
5G and Wi-Fi will work as a collaborative network; making the most of the reliability and robustness of Wi-Fi, alongside the low latency and high speed capabilities of 5G. That said, some businesses are adopting private 5G networks which only connect to specific devices, normally in sectors such as manufacturing, where a large number of connected devices need a high speed network. It also means really critical devices can be prioritised and remain connected even if the rest of the network is disrupted, this may prove particularly beneficial in a hospital for example.
How will 5G affect IoT?
With IoT (Internet of Things) rapidly expanding and more businesses taking notice of what it can do for them, 5G will drive this further. IoT has the ability to collect massive amounts of data, coupled with the efficiency, responsiveness and high-speed capabilities of the 5G network this is where IoT will really come in to it's own. Data collection and real-time analytics will be instantaneous giving businesses insights that will allow them to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Is 5G Safe?
As with previous cellular technologies, 5G networks rely on signals carried by radio waves - part of the electromagnetic spectrum - transmitted between an antenna or mast and your phone.
We're surrounded by electromagnetic radiation all the time - from television and radio signals, as well as from a whole range of technologies, including mobile phones, and from natural sources such as sunlight. 5G uses higher frequency waves than earlier mobile networks, allowing more devices to have access to the internet at the same time and at faster speeds.
Just as with previous 2G, 3G and 4G networks, 5G is deployed using non-ionising lower frequency radio waves. Global regulations govern the use of radio frequencies and 5G falls well within the compliance range.
When will I be able to get 5G?
5G is already available in many of the UK's major cities; Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Later this year other areas will join, in Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
With Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton being switched on before the year ends. 5G will continue to roll out across the country, with full adoption targeted for 2020.
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