Emergence of 5G Networks and How It Will Evolve IT Consulting in New Jersey
3G, 4G and now 5G?! Despite the noise and excitement at the end of 2018, there’s a lot of confusion about what constitutes 5G and what does not. If you still don’t know exactly what 5G is or how it might affect your business networking solutions, here’s your chance to get up to speed (pun intended!)
What is the Big Deal About 5G?
Verizon notably conducted field testing of this new technology in Middlesex and Somerset counties and believes a full rollout will happen in 2020.
Make no mistake, when it’s fully adopted, 5G will revolutionize everything, especially business processes. The capacity to wirelessly connect work, personal and equipment data will add a layer of flexibility and productivity that we haven’t experienced yet—and the current landscape is already impressive. In this article, we have attempted to shed light on some of the exciting changes 5G will bring. We’ll also talk about its implications on your IT infrastructure and support for your business when 5G becomes more widespread in New Jersey,
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Some G History
Remember those mobile phones resembling bricks when they first came out? They were first Generation, or 1G, and only suited for analog voice calling. Besides, they were huge, expensive and frequently dropped calls meant they were unreliable. Second Generation (2G) (GSM) made mobile phones cheaper to use with more people becoming users. 2G introduced digital services, was more efficient for calling and introduced the ability to send texts (SMS).
3G brought on the ability to access the internet using our phones and apps became popular. Users had the first taste of instant connectivity to the information they needed, they could read and reply to emails before they got to the office. It didn’t take long, though, before slow connection speeds became frustrating and 4G came to the rescue.
Fourth generation networks, also called LTE (Long-Term Evolution), made streaming video and audio possible. It was responsible for the boom in smartphone sales, the reliance on phone apps, the explosion of social media use, and society’s general phone addiction.
Businesses took off with remote access to work documents. Collaboration with colleagues on different sides of the globe reduced the need for expensive air travel. New business models were born out of this 4th Generation of network speed and accessibility.
Like 3G, network providers will soon exceed LTE capacity in major metros. Slowdowns experienced during peak hours are evidence of this. 5G is not just a good idea but is a necessity. It will introduce large amounts of new spectrum bands for commercial use. 5G involves three different spectrum bands:
- The low spectrum band, sub 1GHz is becoming depleted, even though they offer a wide penetration and excellent coverage area. Data speeds during peak hours can hover around 100Mbps.
- Mid band spectrum offers faster coverage and reduced latency in comparison to low bands. One drawback is the difficulty in penetrating buildings. The typical peak speed is around 1Gbps.
- High band spectrum can provide data speeds up to 10Gbps with extremely low latency. Unfortunately, it’s building penetration is poor and the coverage area is not extensive.
Advantages of 5G
5G will be 100 times faster than 4G (average speeds around 15Mbps) so that a 2-hour movie can be downloaded in about 4 seconds instead of the 6 minutes it would take on 4G or the 26 hours on 3G. For wireless service, it will reduce latency, the time lag experienced when devices communicate, to about 1 millisecond. Compare that to the latency of 4G which is about 10 ms.
Even though the way some companies are rolling out 5G is bound to confuse when they tag the 5G label on 4G advancements, a standard exists. The leading manufacturers and telecom companies came together under an umbrella, 3GPP, to form a standards-setting organization and decide on the definition of 3G wireless. Likewise, it has also stipulated the set of technologies that will qualify as 5G. Release 16 is expected at the end of 2019 to specify standards for wireline convergence, vehicle to everything communications and satellite access.
Challenges Facing 5G
For one, the new generation of networking is going to be expensive to install the required hardware for wide-area 5G coverage. Verizon, for example, has spent $5.4 billion, and counting, in New Jersey since 2015 upgrading to 4G and laying the foundation for 5G. While 4G operates using a few large masts built some distance apart, the electromagnetic frequencies of 5G require small cells (also known as 5G nodes) that need to be considerably closer together (a few hundred feet) to reduce latency.
The cells could be mounted on existing electrical towers, street lights, tree branches, and building edges, with the permission of municipalities and communities. If providers are unable to deploy enough cells, there will be area pockets that are beyond the spectrum range.
The high-frequency airwaves for 5G are called millimeter-wave spectrum (mmWaves) and are easy to block on their way to a recipient phone. Multiple cells can even lead to signal interference, so increasing the number of cells is not the solution. Providers are trying to overcome this challenge in different ways, some through beamforming which involves monitoring each connected user and identifying the optimum route, away from blockages, to them. Providers are also employing the complimentary use of lower-band spectrums for object penetration and farther range.
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Some of the Ways 5G Could Transform Our World
Widespread 5G connectivity will cause massive shifts in society fueled by increased data travel speeds. It will impact every industry. Let’s look at a few ways.
Self-driving cars require a lot of continuous data to become a reality for mass use. 5G will make it possible for one vehicle to communicate with another in real time, supplying and receiving the necessary data to inform a vehicle’s reaction and performance.
5G will enhance the efficiency of municipalities with the ability to remotely track faults much easily and measure important data inputs. For example, receiving up-to-date data when street lights fail, or when water levels rise after rains. Also, surveillance cameras will supply real-time information with the potential to save lives.
Remote controlled machinery
Skilled technicians will be able to control heavy-duty machinery from wherever they are – a welcome feat when said machinery must operate in hazardous environments. Similarly, in the medical field, surgeons will be able to perform surgery remotely with high precision. Remote recovery and therapy through Augmented Reality, AR also becomes a possibility.
Internet of Things
The long-awaited vision, by some, of “smart-everything” would be possible when sensors can relay real-time data so that connected smart devices can act accordingly. At the moment, these devices are hampered by LTE data capacity because they require a lot of resources to transmit and receive data.
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Growing Pains Before Full 5G Adoption
First and foremost is whether you reside in a location with 5G coverage and have 5G enabled hardware to take advantage of it. At the moment, most business users just want reliable connection and speed. And LTE is still efficient for present needs. However, if we look at how new businesses sprang up and business models changed with the ease of connecting to mobile apps, e.g., ride-hailing services, and music streaming platforms that deliver their product at a moment’s notice, we expect the same to happen with 5G.
Regarding 5G enabled hardware, phones need modems that can receive the new electromagnetic spectrum. You’ll find 5G modems on the market that could allow users to broadcast internet to other devices without cellular radios, if providers allow the seamless transfer of data from other networks to their devices.
New 5G capable phones and electronics will enter the market. Still, it will take more than phones and good coverage to enjoy 5G. The host servers of service providers need to be optimized for a 5G connection. For instance, video streaming companies will need to make changes for users to experience those fast download speeds 5G promises.
With so many technologies to consider, like home broadband, office broadband, home TV, IOT, and the likelihood that service providers will offer 5G package deals to attract consumers, it will be up to the user to make a selection based on their needs. TNTMAX can audit your IT systems and make recommendations to leverage available network and infrastructure. We provide IT consulting in New Jersey.
How 5G Will Affect IT Support?
In light of these growing pains, it’s evident that the 5G rollout will involve massive upgrades to existing IT infrastructure to provide capacity. Since data traffic is expected to increase exponentially, new regulations to guide data security, the maintenance and location of data centers, terms of service for cloud providers will likely be passed. Think HIPAA for the new business models that will spring up in regulated industries. If your industry is regulated, compliance will be essential.
Cybersecurity will become even more critical than it is now with multiple connected devices. Administrators will put controls and policies in place to prevent attacks at the first point of entry. Software maintenance will continue to remain a priority.
At TNTMAX, we pride ourselves on having a firm grasp of what is working today, and we like to keep a watchful eye on innovation affecting information technologies. We offer IT consulting for New Jersey businesses, to help our clients stay ahead in their respective industries.