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The Future Is Faster Thanks to 5G

Photo: Courtesy of Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

Chris Pearson

President of 5G Americas

While 5G is complex and may take some time to be broadly adapted, the new mobile technology promises a lot for the future of wireless reliability, speed, and capability. We asked Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas, some of the biggest questions surrounding 5G.

For those who do not know, can you explain exactly what 5G is and what separates it from past networks?

5G or “fifth generation” is the next evolution of mobile wireless technology after 4G LTE. 5G is “super-sized” in its importance as it will enable new innovative services, provide new thresholds of connectivity capabilities, warrant reactions 10 times quicker, and offer data speeds up to 20 times faster for enhanced mobile broadband. In addition, it’s a completely new network architecture that is able to address massive machine-type communications for the Internet of Things with the number of devices multiplied by a factor of 100. 5G will also enable innovation with ultra-reliable and low-latency communications for the critical communications needed for purposes like autonomous vehicles, drones, remote healthcare, and vehicle-to-everything connectivity. 5G systems will extend mobile communications well beyond telephony and broadband into entirely new vertical domains.

How can businesses best utilize 5G technology? Are there any new avenues this technology can open?

The future offers tremendous innovation through the low-latency and high-reliability of 5G — it’s technology’s answer to making billions of new connections secure and instantaneous. Today, initially, wireless companies are using 5G to deliver an alternative to cable for in-home and enterprise broadband and enterprise. In the future, 5G will impact every industry — healthcare, manufacturing, distribution, emergency services, and much more. 5G is purposely designed so these industries can take advantage of cellular connectivity in ways that wouldn’t have been possible before, and to scale upwards as use of 5G expands.

Economists estimate the global economic impact of 5G in new goods and services will reach $12 trillion and support 22 million jobs by 2035 when the full economic benefit is realized (IHS, 5G Economic Impact Study, Jan 2017). More than 90 percent of global business leaders surveyed expect new products and services with 5G that have yet to be invented, however, there are already use cases developing across numerous industries.

Are there any barriers to adoption they should be aware of?

Businesses should support the mobile wireless industry in breaking down the barriers for successful 5G deployment. The two key ingredients for 5G commercial deployments are more radio spectrum in low, mid, and high bands, coupled with more cell site installations. This translates to more licensed spectrum auctioned by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States and streamlined cell site processes. The federal government is actively identifying and allocating radio spectrum as well as streamlining regulation. The cities and states that will thrive are those that adopt a progressive stance toward the development and deployment of new 5G networks to connect their citizens.

What are the most important things businesses and manufacturers should know when implementing a 5G strategy?

Strategically, think big and long term! Work in your state and city to influence leadership to allow the deployment of 5G technology. It’s early days for 5G commercial deployment, so it will be a while before 5G coverage is ubiquitous. However, 4G LTE will offer dual connectivity and the foundation for 5G.  Businesses should strategize for a 5G future that will provide up to 10 Gbps throughput speed, 1 millisecond radio latency, and improved reliability and security, while supporting 10-100 times more devices than today’s 4G networks. 5G will bring the next industrial revolution with Industry 4.0 for the ultimate world without wires.

What should consumers know about 5G?

Consumers will notice better performance for entertainment connectivity — downloading movies, streaming music, and gaming online. For example, 5G could download an HD movie in 6-10 seconds versus 6-10 minutes for with 4G. Virtual and augmented reality are a viable use case for consumers as well as businesses. Connected cars will provide improved safety and mitigate traffic congestion. However, the biggest change for consumers could be an evolving workplace, community, and home with smart adaptations for power/energy, transportation, public safety, and more.

Is there any misconception surrounding 5G that businesses and consumers should both be aware of? What should they focus on instead?

Consumers should be grounded in the reality that 5G is a great technology but that it is complex in its initial stages, and therefore will take some time to deliver on all of its promises. Yet, 5G will gain momentum quickly and is expected to reach well over 1 billion connections worldwide in 2023. So strap on your jetpack and get ready for an incredible technological journey called 5G.

Staff, [email protected]

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