Much has been said about the incredible innovations and disruption that will occur with the rollout of 5G wireless networks, but it cannot be overstated. The number of dramatic improvements that 5G networks promise include increased speed, ability to handle thousands of more devices at once, improved security, lower energy costs, and lower latency. 4G networks encouraged larger, more connected mobile apps and having five or more connected device in your house is now the norm. Traveling in that exact same path, 5G will bring about a new wave of innovation and may well be the answer to the technological challenges of the future.
5G networks are said to be a vast improvement over current wireless networks primarily because they have been rebuilt with security, high availability, and low latency in mind. 5G operates on a different radio spectrum allowing it to handle many more devices at once and at much higher speeds. Some of the advertised statistics include:
- Handles one million devices per square kilometer
- 1 to 10Gb/s connections
- Improved energy efficiency
- High availability
- Improved security
Improvements of this size have the potential to spur a huge amount of activity, growth, and innovation at a time when many new technologies are on the brink of putting much higher loads on networks.
Technology is putting bigger and bigger demands on the mobile networks which is why 5G is needed to continue the pace of innovation. Over the past four years the total space required by the top ten most installed iPhone apps increased by 1,100%. Estimates predict tens of billions of new IoT devices coming online in the next five to ten years. 5G could solve these challenges and pave the way for new things.
5G networks and IoT seem to be a perfect match. The number of connected devices is estimated to be in the hundreds of billions by 2030. Connecting that many devices at once is a huge task, but when you consider the amount of data that each of those devices will be transmitting you begin to see why 5G networks will be a necessity. Increased wireless speeds and improved energy efficiency will support the current trend of doing more data processing on edge devices as opposed to doing it all on the server.
Cars are increasingly being connected to the internet and with the potential for truly self-driving cars, this will only increase. These cars will have to make split-second decisions which requires near instant communication along with high availability. 5G network are perfect for this kind of traffic, with the promise of five millisecond round trip latency (in some areas), that’s compared to human reaction time of about 250 milliseconds. 5G networks will also assists with communication between vehicles and with providing VR and AR experiences.
Web and Mobile Applications
Another trend that falls in line with increased network speeds are the increases in web and mobile app sizes and the amount of network traffic they generate. Different factors have contributed to these increases such as the increased use of small libraries and components to create an application as well as user expectations that applications and websites be able to do more. New programming languages and frameworks such as Web Assembly and asm.js hope to allow almost any type of application to run in a browser. This could revolutionize programming but could also significantly increase web application sizes. Without a 5G network, slow network connections would make these new types of applications impractical.
As time goes on the trend is towards large increases in the number of devices and the amount of traffic on networks. 5G networks promise to meet future demands and could encourage innovation in a number of important areas. In the next few years expect to see the first 5G networks coming online.