5G networks are another key element in the journey toward Digital Transformation. This is because the potential offered by next-generation connectivity enables new functions beyond mobile communication services. So the speed of business change will be supported by increased connection speeds. Can we reduce 5G to just that? Absolutely not. Let’s see the effects of the new generation of the wireless network.
What is 5G?
Before thinking about the use cases of the technology, it’s important to be clear about what we’re talking about. Hyperconnectivity, the constant flow of data, and smart working are all activities that require connections beyond those provided by current wireless networks. Hence the need to go beyond 4G and design a fifth-generation (5G) network.
Expected benefits will include increased speed, new bandwidth, reduced latency, and the ability to support more users, services, and devices. These features would ensure more efficient use of the network.
Currently, we are in the deployment phase of infrastructure and connections on a global scale. According to the GSMA, a global organization that represents mobile operators and organizations in the mobile ecosystem, it is estimated that, in the next few years, one in four mobile connections should be on a 5G network.
Statista.com also showed that China is leading the race for 5G with 29% of mobile connections in the current rollout phase of the technology. North America follows with 13% adoption, and Europe is even further behind with 4% of all mobile connections. Part of this slowdown in adoption is due to structural and technological limitations that, even today, do not allow for a smooth acceleration across the globe.
5G networks will improve data transmission by acting on speed, bandwidth size, and latency. Here are the use cases that will take advantage of this enormous potential Click To Tweet
How does 5G work and what are the improvements over 4G?
Beyond the strictly technical aspects that we will not address here, it is interesting to investigate what will be the performance gains and what are the advantages of adopting this new technology.
Let’s start by saying that 5G networks, to increase the speed of passage of information, exploit the “millimeter waves” (mmwaves), i.e. frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum higher than 4G. However, this power also requires a greater number of antennas as the distances to ensure high signal quality are shorter. For example, a tree or a wall can be an obstacle to the passage of 5G radio waves that are faster but also weaker than the previous ones. Mind you, this does not mean that we would be surrounded by antennas, as the designed devices will be decidedly more discreet and incorporated into the urban decor.
In addition, a higher transmission speed will be achieved. In fact, if as expected, 5G will reach 10 Gbps, that speed will be 100 times faster than standard 4G. This translates into greater operational efficiency given by the speed but also by the reduction of latency. In fact, the structural delay in the passage of data packets from one point to another of the network is reduced.
5G use cases: which contexts will gain the most benefit?
Sure, all very interesting, but in practical what will it improve? As previously mentioned, the biggest advantage of this innovation is in data transmission. We will be able to download and upload large files in no time and see streaming movies at very high resolution without slowing down due to the buffer. The 5G, as previously mentioned, will potentially reach a speed of 10 gigabits per second.
Moreover, in a period in which we talked about Metaverse and augmented and virtual reality, the characteristics of 5G represent the key to access these worlds that require connectivity much higher than the one we use today.
In the industrial field, for example, a resource equipped with a visor for virtual reality will have the freedom to move within production facilities while maintaining a connection to the 5G network and interacting with all connected devices. This opportunity allows for advanced maintenance, meaning it will be possible to repair a machinery failure by leveraging the skills of an expert remotely. The worker, equipped with an augmented reality viewer, will see in virtual the sequence of actions he will have to perform to repair the machinery.
Indeed, speed, latency, efficiency, reliability, and security are elements that enhance IoT technologies. We can easily see how the constant flow of information between sensors and production resources would be the key to an integrated ecosystem that would make it possible to definitively overcome the traditional silo structure of industrial realities.
All this accelerates the path towards Smart Manufacturing, a reality that is getting closer and closer thanks to innovations such as Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and automation. The change towards smart factories has already started with the 4th industrial revolution, but to spread it needs above all an enhanced connectivity. In fact, in these contexts, data latency is a hot button. Its reduction would translate into greater efficiency of operational processes. Not only that, but predictive analytics would also become more accurate, and managers would be able to obtain useful information for decision-making processes more quickly.