5G has arrived in the UK but what does it mean for your business? The new super-fast network can help your business in some interesting ways that you might not have yet considered.
Today we are going to answer all your 5G questions and show you the ways it can benefit your business.
What is 5G?
5G is 'Fifth Generation' and it is the newest generation of mobile internet connectivity.
To explain you have to think of 5G as a series of standards guiding smart devices and phones on how they should work. It's been described as a 'network or networks' covering devices like phones, digital assistants (Siri, Alexa) and other smart products.
Up until now, the top standard had been 4G, which had replaced 3G, but as advancements in technology continue the standards again needed updating. As we interact with our devices in new ways the standards for how everything connects needs updating.
5G promises wider coverage, faster speeds, greater capacity and more reliable connections on smartphones and other devices than ever before.
How does 5G work?
When you use your phone or other smart devices the data is transmitted by radio waves. The radio waves are banded to different frequencies. As it stands the existing bands are becoming congested by the sheer volume of devices being used. This results in a drop of service. Have you ever tried to use your phone at a football match? The bigger the crowd the slower everything goes. That is the congestion in action.
5G will overcome that issue by using higher radio frequencies. These aren't nearly as busy so they can send data quicker. Mobile networks will have to install new transmitters so that is why 5G is not available across the whole UK at the moment.
How fast is 5G?
Speeds will vary depending on your location, your network provider and your device. The average internet speed will be a significant increase on what is currently possible on 4G.
So far in testing across the country, the results have been mixed. EE's network hit a maximum speed of 550Mbps but in areas, with lesser coverage, the speeds were in the 200 to 400 Mbps range.
What are 5G’s key features?
5G comes with the promise of wider coverage, faster speeds and greater capacity than ever before as well as more reliable connections across devices.
Here are some of the key features you can expect from 5G.
5G could be as much as 100 times faster than current 4G networks. This would mean you could download a full HD move in under 10 seconds on the new 5G. That currently takes closer to 10 minutes on 4G.
Latency is the delay before the transfer of data begins. That means there will be less delay or lag when using your device. Currently on 4G latency is typically 40-50 milliseconds, so half a second which is very fast but still noticeable. On 5G it should be 1 millisecond and maybe even less. Try counting 1 millisecond, you can't do it! So any lag will be undetectable on 5G.
Networks will be able to cope better with the huge demand of devices at one time. That is the slow down you experience when lots of people are using the network at the same time. 5G will lessen that effect.
With 5G dropped calls or lost connectivity will be a thing of the past. That opens up a world of possibility for connected cars or health applications.
Network slicing will become an option. The network will be divided into multiple virtual networks and you the operator will be able to choose the slice that is best for your needs.
Improved Battery Life
While you may think that these features might drain your battery quicker, you'll be wrong, 5G is expected to increase battery life up to ten times in some devices.
What are the benefits of 5G for your business?
5G will be a massive benefit to our personal lives but 5G also offers exciting opportunities for businesses as well. While it may take time to understand exactly how the technology will fit in the business world here are some benefits you can enjoy.
Enhance services for your customers
Better mobile services mean considerable opportunities to improve the services you offer. Customers are expecting to be able to engage with your business on their mobile device. With 5G they will be able to do so quickly and that will also increase the options of what you can offer a mobile visitor.
New marketing opportunities
5G will be able to open up the ways you can interact with potential customers. You can greatly improve the visual quality of your video content, for example, because streaming speeds will easily be able to cope.
Augmented and virtual reality applications will become more commonplace. This opens the door to exciting new ways of marketing your products and services.
Streamline efficiencies throughout your business
New mobile technology will help a business increase productivity and improve systems. Your business will be able to move more tasks online because you will no longer have to worry about network speed or connection issues. Coupled with VoIP technology your business should be able to save money on your phone bills.
Video calls are great but we've all been on some that are jerky or fuzzy. 5G will eliminate those performance issues so video conferencing with customers, suppliers or staff will be crystal clear.
Staff will have more options for working from home or on the move. There are no longer the worries of connection speeds or connectivity issues allowing remote working to become more productive.
Will we need new mobile phones with 5G?
Yes, you will need to upgrade your phone to benefit 5G. As with any new technology early adaption will have some teething issues as the 5G network still hasn't covered the whole of the UK yet.
When is 5G coming to the UK?
5G has already arrived in the UK and is already being supplied by EE, O2 and Vodafone. The issue currently is coverage. 5G does not cover the whole country yet. Initial networks have been created in the bigger cities in the country, such as London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.
Check with your preferred supplier to see their 5G coverage range before you purchase a new 5G phone.
What should my business do to prepare for 5G?
Although coverage is not yet widespread it is worth planning for 5G now. There are strategies you will need to put in place.
Consider how 5G will affect your business and think of the opportunities that could bring. Will your customer expectations change? Will they expect to interact with you on their mobile or smart device? Can you improve your marketing offerings using the new technology?
5G is an exciting new development that will offer lots of value to businesses. Right now as everything is so new it's hard to know for sure what role it will play but it will be important. So your business will need to start planning for 5G sooner rather than later.
If you don't have IT expertise in-house then Infotech Solutions can help you identify and plan your 5G needs. To discuss 5G further contact us here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01634 52 52 52.