- The Reality
- Use Cases
Despite major advertising pushes on the part of mobile carriers, most U.S. consumers don’t even know what 5G is.
It doesn’t help that they can’t even get a straight answer from the companies that sell it.
AT&T was just asked by the National Advertising Review Board to stop calling its network “5G Revolution,” seeing as it’s merely an upgraded version of the current network, 4G LTE.
And there is the small but vocal segment of the global population who are reacting to 5G by destroying its cell towers. The Department of Homeland Security had to step in.
This is the worst launch since the Spanish Armada.
Let’s dive in.
Let’s recap mobile network generations since 1G (First Generation) launched in 1979:
That’s the falsehood conspiracy theorists will have you believe, but there are more benevolent forecasts as well.
One thing we’re sure of with 5G is: it’s fast. It will have download speeds up to 10Gbps and practically no latency (the time for the network to reply to a response, like the pause when Alexa processes your requests in the cloud).
IDC predicts there will be 10.1 billion 5G connections in 2023, with 5G representing 8.9% of all mobile traffic.
That said, there is a good chance that it will take a long time — if ever — to become a mainstream consumer technology, as its waves are too weak to travel long distances are too weak to even pass through a sliding-glass door.
These weaknesses require a vast network infrastructure.
And that infrastructure needs to be built from scratch.
So, is the excitement all for nothing? No, but 5G might not be as game-changing for consumers as previous mobile generations were.
It is expected to be the first mobile generation that will have a bigger impact on enterprises than consumers. More specifically, with the Internet of Things (IoT). Some example use cases are:
- Healthcare: The most fascinating proposed use case in surgery, specifically the ability of a surgeon to perform surgery from across vast geographic distances by controlling a robot via augmented reality.
- Augmented reality: Google Glass was a massive consumer failure, but has found a home in manufacturing.
- Virtual reality: Eliminating the latency that makes VR cause nausea in some people.
- Holograms: Holograms! They already exist. Expect the Leia references to flow.
- Autonomous vehicles: 5G and edge computing are vital to autonomous vehicles. Even a millisecond of reduced latency will save lives.
5G is not as close as network carriers would lead us to believe, but it is coming. We expect to start hearing about game-changing uses of 5G in around 2022, but if you want to start thinking about ways 5G-enabled technologies contact us now.
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