Technology is developing at an incredible speed. One of the latest and most significant updates is the introduction of 5G internet or fifth-generation mobile technology. A connection to a 5G internet means full wireless internet access, regardless of the device and location. It also promises speed over ten (10) times more than most of the world currently has.
However, what does this mean to our existing data and internet connectivity? Will 5G phase out the world’s current connections via DSL, cable, and Fiber-for-the-home (FFTH)? Read on below to find out!
How does 5G work?
The Fifth-Generation or 5G internet uses several small cells wired towers placed in strategic locations all over an area. It has the ability to wirelessly send digital data from and to your home router, then to your devices.
This contrasts with the current DSL and Fiber network that uses cables directly from the towers to your home router, which can be directly affected by adverse weather conditions.
5G expected performance
The expected performance of 5G has been stirring a lot of questions and debates as well.
Why? Here are some:
- Theoretical data speed of 20Gps – which means 2.5 GB per cell. Most of the fastest DSL connections these days top at 25Mbps. And – less than 1-second latency.
- Massive network capacity both for multiple devices including enterprise-level machines and online activity for users
- Increased availability (almost 100%) since it does not require macro cell towers
Where is 5G available now?
With these exciting updates, more people are looking at the 5G network for personal and commercial use. Currently, 5G is available in over thirty (30) countries and four (4) continents, with expected additional cities and countries by next year.
Countries that are now enjoying 5G connectivity in some of its major cities include Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Australia, China, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan.
Exciting times indeed! As 5G becomes more available to a wider public range, the more we can test its performance and see if it indeed delivers on its promises.
Is 5G better than DSL, Cable, and FFTH?
As mentioned earlier, the promises of 5G have been sending people both to extreme excitement and suspicion. There have been a lot of comparisons regarding 5G and the existing internet technology.
Let’s stop there for a much-needed change in perspective.
5G is complementary to existing connections
5G, more than anything, is complementary to our existing internet connections. One way of looking at this is to consider the 5G as the capillaries of a city’s network, while the existing fiber infrastructure (used by DSL and FFTH) are the central veins or arteries.
The smaller networks of a 5G system are guaranteed to bring connectivity to skyrocket speeds; however, the existing fiber lines must be in top conditions as well. As much as DSL, Cable, and FFTH rely on external cables that might be reliant on weather conditions, 5G systems also need to be less susceptible to data and network interference.
Systems work together, not against
This is why more than anything, these systems are best to work together rather than compete. The new internet infrastructure can be built, combining both the strong points of 5G and Fiber.
Instead of connecting individual homes with fiber optic cables, these same premium cables can be used by the 5G cell towers, further enhancing its capability to deliver ultra-high-speed internet. Fiber provides 5G with the infrastructure it needs to bring its goal to reality, while 5G enables Fiber to add significant flexibility and mobility in its offering.
What are the Benefits of 5G Internet?
We noted some of the perks of 5G above, but let’s dive deeper into it on these items below.
Satisfies the Need for Speed
At the forefront of all technology-related updates is speed. In these modern times, speed is no longer just about time, but also about money. Although most might be currently happy with their internet speed, the difference between 4G and 5G is still astonishing. An example would be a two-hour HD movie that would take 6-7 minutes to download in a 4G network, which will merely take 40 seconds in 5G.
The same speed can be translated to other online activities such as streaming multiple HD movies and music, playing online games, and sharing data uploading videos. 5G can handle even the following activities with such ease – 3D hologram phone calls, communication between driverless cars including traffic status, a new level of experience with virtual reality apps, more sophisticated and a more comprehensive range of functions for artificial intelligence (AI) devices, to name a few.
Capable of handling massive device and user network activity
With 5G, multiple devices can be used without the network going through buffering or random disconnections. High-bandwidth devices such as virtual reality machines and augmented reality applications will function smoothly on a home network. The same goes for entertainment and professional experiences, including real-time video translation, cloud-based gaming with multiple users, shopping and virtual tours using augmented reality, and almost-instant access to cloud services.
Competitive rates for DSL and Fiber Internet providers
With 5G coming into the landscape as an alternative for some users, internet service providers might need to offer more competitive prices to keep and attract customers. This means lower costs in fixed broadband providers or additional services or bundles to make their offers more attractive and competitive.
Internet providers also have to worry less about the cost of cables when working with 5G.
Increases Internet availability including rural areas and developing countries
One exciting aspect of 5G internet is the mobility it provides to the users, wherever they may be. Due to the cost and logistics of setting up 4G cell towers in rural areas, many of these locations still do not have wire internet access.
With 5G internet, constructing the smaller cell towers would be more feasible and cost-efficient. This provides almost 100% internet availability to all. However, another factor to consider is that due to the performance capability of 5G, it is more likely to be prioritized in metropolitan areas, business districts, and major cities.
The promise of 5G internet is indeed exciting – the possibility it holds and its changes to make life convenient for all. The technology is already there, and more than ‘competing,’ it is more efficient to maximize the old and new to further enhance what is existing and bring it to a whole new level.