5G is one of the latest technology buzzwords in the business world. It sets the scene for advanced remote control, intelligent transportation, and workplace automation. 5G technology is developing rapidly to enable the next generation of wireless communications and power the metaverse. It is paving the way for more than just super-fast data transfer. The question is, what does that look like?
THE NEW GENERATION OF NETWORKS
Since the first mobile phone call was made in 1973, the mobile industry has seen breathtaking advances. On 1st December, 2018, South Korea became the world’s first 5G country. Ever since, mobile devices have changed our world by reshaping how we communicate, engage in business, and access information. Following this event, many countries started adopting 5G technology in 2020 and are set to increase data usage exponentially as more people get on board with all the benefits this technology has to offer.
To understand where we are today, due to the inevitable rise in wireless standards from 1G to 6G, it is useful to chart their unstoppable spread across the globe.
1G TECHNOLOGY (1979)
NTT introduced the first generation of mobile networks to Japan in 1979 and, by 1984, had expanded coverage throughout its home country. The first generation of mobile telecommunications technology, which went into operation in 1983, made it possible for users to make and receive calls on handheld devices such as the Motorola DynaTAC. Canada was among the countries that adopted 1G shortly after its introduction.
But 1G technology suffered from several drawbacks: poor coverage, low sound quality, and the lack of roaming support between various operators. As different systems operated on different frequency ranges, they had no compatibility. When switching carriers or travelling internationally, making or receiving calls was extremely expensive.
Furthermore, the calls were not encrypted, so they could easily be intercepted. Despite its drawbacks and hefty price tag, DynaTAC still managed to rack up an astonishing 20 million global subscribers by 1990. The success of 1G paved the way for 2G – appropriately dubbed such due to technical advancements like better processing power.
2G TECHNOLOGY (1991)
The second generation of mobile networks— known as 2G—was first implemented in Finland under the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard in 1991. With this system, encrypted calls were possible for the first time, and digital voice calling was significantly clearer with less static or background crackling than traditional analogue services had been able to provide.
But 2G was about far more than just making phone calls; it also enabled the transmission of text messages and multimedia content, transforming communications in ways no one could have foreseen. By the time 2G came along, 1G was already well-established. This meant that people enthusiastically adopted 2G—and it became hugely popular among consumers and businesses.
To understand where we are today, due to the inevitable rise in wireless standards from 1G to 6G, it is useful to chart their unstoppable spread across the globe
Although the transmission speeds in 2G networks were slow at first—around 237 kbps (0.2 Mbps)— mobile-phone operators invested heavily in building new infrastructure such as mobile cell towers since there was so much demand for the service.
Despite relatively sluggish speeds, 2G revolutionised the business landscape and changed the world forever. Moving from snail-paced dial-up Internet connections to blazing fast mobile broadband (relatively speaking compared to what we are used to today, of course) was like going from cave paintings to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel—in just a few years.
3G TECHNOLOGY (2000)
In 2001, NTT DoCoMo launched 3G and standardised the network protocol used by vendors. This meant that users could access data from any location worldwide—as long as their phones were equipped to use it. No longer would travellers be limited to their home country’s phone services when travelling abroad.
The increased speed of data transfer made possible by 3G networks allowed for the proliferation of new services such as video conferencing, streaming media, and voice-over IP (such as Skype). In 2002, the Blackberry smartphone was launched—many powerful features of this device were enabled by its ability to connect via 3G.
4G TECHNOLOGY (2008)
The transition from 2G phone networks to 3G was simple: users just needed new SIM cards. However, making the leap up to 4G was a more complicated matter as it required that phones be built with this capability in mind.
This change made it possible for device manufacturers to scale their profits dramatically and was one factor behind Apple’s rise to become the world’s first trillion-dollar company.
According to Statista, approximately 4.7 billion users will use 4G/LTE by 2023, becoming the standard worldwide.
A CLOSER LOOK AT 5G AND ITS CURRENT IMPACT
The development of 5G technology dates from 2008, with the aim to make better use of the radio spectrum and enable many devices to be connected simultaneously. It uses higher frequency waves with shorter wavelengths than previous generations.
5G is much better at handling thousands of devices simultaneously, meaning that a single network can handle mobile phones and equipment sensors—among many other forms of hardware—without slowing down.
The higher-frequency radio bands in which 5G operates – 3.5GHz (gigahertz) to 26GHz and beyond – have much greater capacity than their predecessors. Still, some infrastructure issues are created because cell towers must be spaced more closely to achieve a good signal. In addition, 5G wireless technology is designed to deliver much higher peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, and greater reliability and capacity than previous networks— allowing more users per cell and better performance in dense urban areas.
As mobile networks increase bandwidth and enhance the quality and quantity of content delivered to mobile devices— such as smartphones or tablets— 5G’s benefits will be even more evident for a more user-friendly experience
For 5G to work, the most important cellphone companies in the world will need to install many more transmitters and receivers near homes. It is a significant investment, requiring these companies to be wholly committed to the technology; further negotiations with small towns and municipalities over placing smaller boxes may also be necessary. Nowadays, of the countries that have begun the 5G rollout, China and the United States lead with a combined 652 cities where 5G is available. The Philippines has been able to roll out active connections in 98 cities—making it closest in terms of its rollout schedule.
As leaders focus on building new opportunities and compelling technologies, including the WiFi 6E standard and private 5G networks, they will shift their attention away from simply staying operational.
Executives can benefit from the increasing value that wireless infrastructure and applications unlock by leveraging new location- based services within their networks. In other words, organisations are capable of developing entirely new services and insights that can support their evolving business objectives.
Already, 5G has impacted many organisations, so let’s look at a few examples:
MAKING REMOTE WORK POSSIBLE
With the advent of 5G wireless, people no longer have to be tied down by a mandatory location. With high-speed internet available anywhere, people have the freedom to live anywhere they wish. In fact, as carriers upgrade the network, people living in rural areas and other broadband dead zones will gain access to high-speed internet. This will significantly help the local economy and connect more populations that have traditionally been isolated due to a lack of access to fibre optics that would allow them to connect to more populated areas.
BRINGING EDGE COMPUTING TO THE NEXT LEVEL
5G will enable the creation of new edge computing systems that augment cloud infrastructure. By using advanced networking technology, businesses that engage in frequent transactions (such as FinTech companies and mobile banking) or need real-time interaction with their users (such as online gaming providers and live sports broadcasters) can now offer incredibly fast services in sub-10ms latency.
IMPROVING THE PERFORMANCE OF APPS
5G already provides substantial improvements over its predecessors in predictability, which translates into reliable application performance for business users. As mobile networks increase bandwidth and enhance the quality and quantity of content delivered to mobile devices—such as smartphones or tablets—5G’s benefits will be even more evident for a more user-friendly experience.
USING AI AND AUTOMATION TO ENABLE NEW INNOVATIONS
Many companies like Amazon, through Amazon Web Services (AWS), have already begun using new automation and artificial intelligence technologies that depend on faster download speeds.
As businesses prepare for the future and modernise, 5G’s lower latency and faster speeds will be difficult to ignore-especially when combined with automation.
ANALYSING PRODUCT AND PROCESS PERFORMANCE
5G technology makes data a commodity that everyone can access. With the ability to collect so much data in real-time with low latency (almost 100% uptime), we can gain insights into product and process performance that were never before possible. Understanding trending data helps us recognise patterns or issues, allowing for better predictions and therefore improving internal processes, services, and products, among many other things, for optimisation of enterprises and organisations.
A FEW EXAMPLES OF 5G TECHNOLOGY
5G technology will enable new types of intelligent devices to communicate with one another and with their users. These devices can be integrated into various systems, allowing them to self-organise to address a broad spectrum of applications and services. Here are some examples.
One of 5G’s primary uses is for smart city applications, such as the Alba Iulia Smart City in Romani. This smart city has traffic monitors, parking sensors, and waste management systems. With the advent of 5G, factories will accommodate an influx of robots on assembly lines and drones for lastmile deliveries. Cars will communicate with one another to avoid hazards or accidents and become fully automated.
Ford and Mercedes-Benz and companies such as John Deere rely on intelligent technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) to power smart factories. Now they are looking at how 5G can drive further innovation in their facilities
Alba Iulia is a relatively small city, but it is an excellent example of the potential of WiFi and IoT connectivity powered by 5G to transform how citizens interact with the government — as well as businesses and visitors — could improve everyone’s lives.
The automotive industry is poised to experience significant changes in the future with connected and autonomous vehicles— including driverless cars on 5G networks.
With the advent of 5G technology, we will see a new wave of business models. The faster response times made possible by low latency data streams means businesses can deploy more complex applications—and get back to their customers faster.
A U.S.-based start-up, Movandi, develops 5G ecosystems for connected vehicles. All 5G mmWave bands are supported by the company’s integrated antenna modules and radio-frequency chips. Movandi’s algorithms and systems enhance signal coverage while eliminating self-interference.
Furthermore, Movandi BeamXR technology allows smart repeaters to seamlessly integrate with gNB (5G NodeB) and operator networks. These innovations make it easier for operators to implement 5G technologies in their connected-car and cellular vehicle- to-everything (C-V2X) applications—and provide mobile hotspots as an additional source of revenue in nonroaming markets.
Recently, T-Mobile and Qualcomm have partnered to build augmented reality (AR) applications for smart glasses (such as the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance powered by 5G). The new participants will work alongside other developers and entrepreneurs to build immersive AR experiences for smart glasses using T-Mobile’s 5G network.
With its gigabit speeds and next-generation technology, T-Mobile’s new 5G network is ushering in a new era of mobile computing. And with the Snapdragon Spaces XR developer platform, you can create augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), or other immersive experiences that transform smartphones into powerful pocket computers.
Ford and Mercedes-Benz are using 5G technology to build smarter factories. Ford and Mercedes-Benz and companies such as John Deere rely on intelligent technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) to power smart factories. Now they are looking at how 5G can drive further innovation in their facilities.
Private 5G networks—networks that don’t share traffic with other cellular networks in the vicinity—play an important role in these factories as they are gaining traction around the world since regulators allocate more spectrum to enterprises.