Will 5G Technology Change Small Businesses?

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With the rising demand of data communication, in terms of online games, music, videos & more; data-intensive services, both carriers & mobile phone manufacturers are left to catch up to the speeds as demanded from the current generation of mobile phone users. We’re still at the very beginning of the 5G era, with each wireless carrier laying out its own plans for what its network rollout will look like.

5G technology has been standardized to work on all bands in India which are on the verge of launching 5G services on the allocation of spectrum.

Being one of the most sought after market, India is seeing many new entrants in the 5G enabled mobile phones category. The first cell phones with 5G enabled features include the Motorola Moto Z3 and the 5G Moto Mod. Many more 5G devices will launch this year – an indication that it’s time to start paying attention to what this new era of mobility will bring. “The 5G market in India will be second only to China’’, says Huawei.

What will 5G do?

One of the main transformative changes that 5G will bring is reduced communication delays. Latency is how much time it takes for a data packet to get from one point to another. The lesser the latency, the faster devices online can communicate.

This will be important for businesses that rely on IoT (Internet of Things) technology, connecting multiple devices and sensors to provide insight into business operations and product placement and to communicate data, making business operations easier.

While 5G will be used to enhance mobile broadband and fixed wireless access, it will also enable several other uses — be it in drones, robotic surgeries, driverless tractors and Caterpillars in mining applications.

Recently, Ericsson and Bharti Airtel showcased how 5G technology’s network slicing feature could be used to offer guaranteed and uninterrupted quality of service (QoS) when it comes to unmanned aerial vehicles flying over areas inhabited by thousands of people.

QoS is the ability of the network to achieve maximum bandwidth while taking care of other critical network-performance elements such as latency, error rate, and uptime.

5G will be a significant leap forward for application types such as augmented reality and virtual reality, which will be able to operate with greater efficiency.

Ericsson, along with telecommunication companies like Reliance Jio and Airtel, has been exhibiting other applications that use 5G. Some of these were showcased at the India Mobile Congress in October this year. Jio and Ericsson created a 5G-connected car that was remotely operated by the driver with a virtual reality headset.

There’s a lot that 5G can do!

4G vs. 5G

5G uses new and so far rarely used radio millimeter bands in the 30 GHz to 300 GHz range. Current 4G networks operate on frequencies below 6GHz.

Low latency is one of 5G’s most important attributes, making the technology highly suitable for applications that require immediate responsiveness, such as remote vehicle control. 5G networks are capable of latency rates of less than a millisecond in ideal conditions. 5G is estimated to be 60 to 120 times faster than average 4G latencies.

5G offers a minimum peak download speed of 20 Gb/s, while 4G stood at only 1 Gb/s. Fixed site users, such as offices and homes, will experience somewhat higher speeds than mobile users.

5G’s high speed, low cost, ubiquity, and flexibility make it a strong choice for IoT networking.

Since IoT applications typically need to collect massive amounts of data from large numbers of devices and sensors, the technology requires an efficient network for data collection, processing, transmission, control, and real-time analytics.

Current testing and research show that 5G will be able to handle up to an additional 1,000 devices per meter!!! The gains brought about by 4G are already being felt by businesses whose employees are often on the move.

State of the networks

Much like the global practice, 5G technology has been standardized to work on all bands in India which are on the verge of launching 5G services on the allocation of spectrum. For the country’s operators, 5G services will bring in the much-needed revenue, while mobile broadband would be an important application.

For bleeding telecom companies, 5G would help improve their average revenue per user (ARPU), a gauge of the financial strength of a service provider.

All of the major wireless networks have chimed in with their plans for 5G.

Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL), country’s largest telecom operator by subscribers, has selected Ericsson to deploy its Cloud Packet Core that will enhance its network. As part of this deal, VIL will benefit from Ericsson’s network applications and functions, enabling the fast introduction of new services and providing full-service continuity. Vodafone has upgraded its entire radio network to support 5G.

Reliance Jio is another mobile network operator in India that plans to provide 5G services in 2020, as well as their own 5G handsets.

Also, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) signed a memorandum of understanding with Ciena, a networking systems company, in early 2019 to prepare its network for 5G.

If everything goes well, including spectrum auctions, we might see the first rollout of commercial 5G services somewhere in 2021.

How 5G will change devices?

5G will be a game-changer, yes but not for another couple of years and not until we see a carrier-manufacturer deal that shakes the scenario a little bit. Sure brands will label their next smartphone as 5G ready, but we’ll also see a lot of non-5G phones at least till 2020.

Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has already started allocating spectrum and bandwidth for 5G, though many analysts believe that though 5G may be officially launched next year in India, the true realization of the high speeds expected may take longer. This could possibly the reason why Apple is not expected to launch a 5G-ready iPhone until 2020 when systems, infrastructure, and consumers are finally ready to go with 5G.

The industries 5G will affect first!

Beyond consumer electronics, low latency will be key for new innovations in the tech industry, including artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

5G will enable automatically driven vehicles. In scenarios of constant connection to a network, such as digital maps and security, the self-driving vehicles of the near future will rely on strong 5G connections to work.

Other fields where 5G will bring progress are medicine, banking, and automation. IT infrastructures are also expected to transition to the cloud, reducing the need for physical hardware and transforming the workforce.

Bottom line

As telecom companies continue to build up the 5G network infrastructure, it’s time for businesses to think about what effect 5G will have on their business and how they can make the most of it. 5G will open businesses to fields like automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, virtualization, and cloud computing.

Ultimately, 5G makes big promises for the types of devices and experiences that technology can deliver in the upcoming years. Depending on the type of business you have, this can make a big difference in how you work or connect with your customers.

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