One of the most anticipated technologies to hit the communications industry, 5G is set to create a step-change in performance, disrupting business models and enabling entire new industries.
While 3G to 4G was a bit like going from walking to sprinting, 5G will be like getting behind the wheel of a supercar. At peak efficiency, 5G will be able to transfer data at a rate of 20 Gbps, up to 100 times faster than regular LTE. It’s not just speed: latency will be reduced to just a few milliseconds and capacity – number of devices that can use the network – will be significantly enhanced.
And while we’re not quite there yet, service providers and technology vendors alike are bracing themselves for the transformation. Here are three of the markets 5G is about to shake up.
Although there’s much talk about consumer broadband, the biggest use cases for 5G are in the enterprise space. 5G’s flexibility, capacity and low latency makes it ideal for mission-critical IoT applications like smart-grid control or other industrial uses including predictive maintenance, industrial automation, robotics, and drone control. 5G also has the potential to transform digital healthcare; from medical devices to remote surgery.
The demand for video streaming is increasing exponentially, as smartphone penetration rises – but services are far from perfect. 5G will allow much faster, more reliable streaming of our favourite shows on the go. It’s also paving the way for augmented reality and virtual reality, since VR/AR requires high quality HD video streaming combined with very low latency.
Currently, densely packed urban areas are seeing connectivity slow at busy times as the load on the network increases. 5G allows greater capacity to accommodate the millions of connected devices needed for our cities of the future. Applications like traffic management, smart lighting, smart buildings and water resource management will become feasible with 5G. We should also see progress in self-driving cars, since they require ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency connectivity.