5G: Understanding The Technology

Understanding 5G Technology

5G – understanding the technology and how it can impact your business!  

In light of the recent Government decision to ban Huawei’s kit from the UK’s 5G network and also stop the use of its equipment in full-fibre broadband networks by 2027, we take a look at 5G and examine how it’s changing the way we connect and communicate on a fundamental scale, but most importantly, what it does and how it works.  

Most of us know what 4G is – up until recently it was the current standard for mobile networks that enabled faster browsing which allowed us to do more things on the move, like watch videos for example. However, back in 2019, 5G started its worldwide roll-out that would further surpass its earlier generations, meaning BIGGER and BETTER things to put it in laymen’s terms.

Why Is 5G Better Than Other Generations? 

5G technology is not only more reliable, efficient, smarter, and faster than anything before, it also boasts ultra-low latency which is the time it takes for your wireless device to perform an action and that action then being completed, meaning a rapid increase in responsiveness.  

Let’s talk speed – 5G promises high data speeds that exceed the fastest home broadband network currently available on the consumer market (that’s HUGE). 5G has a current max speed of up to 10 gigabits per second making it 100 times faster than 4G.  

But the biggest difference is connectivity and capacity – these developments provide the potential for new, innovative services and that’s VERY exciting… 

The landscape of 5G
Image courtesy of Visual Capitalist

How Can 5G Be Used? 

With greater capacity, thousands of devices in a small area can be connected at the same time, that includes machines, objects, and other devices. With this incredible innovative technology that virtually connects everyone together, it comes as no surprise that 5G has already been tried and tested across a multitude of sectors, potentially affecting every industry, every business and individual.  

With the use of 5G, manufacturers could use smart machinery to gain and retract real-time data to improve efficiency. For example, transport networks, local councils and public bodies could dramatically improve services such as parking, traffic maintenance and street lighting. 

Healthcare is another sector that could massively benefit from embracing 5G as the technology could allow medical students to practise surgeries in a connected, virtual reality environment that reflects a real-life experience. 

Benefits of 5G
Image courtesy of Ofcom

Is 5G Available In The UK? 

Yes, 5G became available in the UK at the end of May 2019 via EE and Vodafone networks, shortly followed by O2 and Three. With the release of 5G plans from the UK’s main networks there is already an abundance of 5G phones available such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 range OnePlus 8 and LG’s Dual Screen V60 (you will need a 5G supported phone to use 5G). However, Apple is still yet to launch a 5G phone – some rumours being that the next iPhone launch in September 2020 (or slightly later due to Covid-19) will support 5G but this has not been confirmed yet.  

How Will The Huawei Ban Effect My Business? 

To date Vodafone, Three and EE have all invested in installing Huawei 5G kit which will now need to be replaced. The main impact will be a possible disruption to the 5G service that businesses are currently utilising as this is completed, however, given that the companies have until 2027 to carry out the replacement then this is unlikely. 

The main impact is that 5G is expected to remain patchy for longer with a completion date for full coverage of the UK further down the line. There is also a potential impact to fibre broadband which relies upon Huawei kit at local exchanges. Again, it is early days and alternative suppliers are being sought, however, this could affect the speed at which that nationwide rollout of gigabit broadband will take place – particularly crucial for more rural businesses. On the flip side it may also speed up the rollout of 5G as the ban has now resolved the caution issues over Huawei which was causing a lot of companies to hold off from upgrading their hardware – only time will tell. 

For more information on 5G and the impact this new wireless technology means to you and your business, click here to read Ofcom’s report. We will be tracking the developments and will keep you updated as new information unfolds. Make sure you are signed up to our mailing list to get our regular blog round up direct to your inbox! 

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