Leased Lines and Wi-Fi out – 5G in?

27th June 2019

5G is the new technology star.  The solution that will make all our lives better.   But will it really or is that just the marketing buzz.

You may well know from your own experience that mobile coverage in the UK is patchy at best.  How many times have you lost your phone call or internet connection in the middle of a city using 4 or 3G?  In the countryside getting a signal of any type can be a challenge.

Unless you have been avoiding the news, you will have gathered that 5G has the potential to be super quick.  If you’ve had a 2G, 3G and now have a 4G phone it would be understandable if you remain unconvinced about the claims of huge improvements so, does it 5G have the potential to replace communication technologies like leased lines and Wi-Fi?

5G now

Currently we are a very long way from having a 5G infrastructure that can replace leased lines.  All the UK mobile operators are launching 5G during 2019, with major cities being the first to benefit.   To access 5G you will need to upgrade your phone to one that is compatible unless you buy a 5G Hub.   So, don’t make the jump yet, unless you are an early adopter who must have technology as soon as its available.

The Speeds

The 5G hype has been all about speed so far.  The speeds that can be attained will be vastly quicker than 4G, as demonstrated in the table below.  The network will also have greater capacity which means that high usage won’t impact quality to the same way 4G is affected now - think of any major event you have attended and how that has affected your phone connection.

 

Network type

Max download speeds

Time to download a full HD film

3G

384Kbps

Over a day

4G

100Mbps

Over 7 minutes

4G+

300Mbps

2.5 minutes

5G

1-10Gbps (theoretical)

4-40 seconds

Table Source  

 

The Challenges

The wavelength is smaller meaning that 5G will need up to 4 times the number of mobile towers than 4G.  This means that making 5G a replacement technology could be prohibitively expensive in some locations.

5G uses higher frequencies which creates some difficulty in penetrating solid objects.  To get over this, many more mobile base stations will be needed which in a city may mean attaching them to every tenth utility pole. As is often the case, where there are difficulties technology will have an answer.

 

Is 5G the future for Business Connectivity?

5G will probably end up as a complimentary solution to business rather than replace leased lines or Wi-Fi,  and potentially finally bring difficult to reach business and consumers into the fast lane

The ability to work remotely should be improved by enabling working with technologies such as virtual or artificial reality. As remote working is already enabled by unified communications, Connexis is well positioned to ensure business can benefit further from 5G.

Another more technical business benefit is 5G Network Splicing – creating virtualised networks based on advanced cellular communications infrastructure – which will allow companies to have private mobile networks tailored to their needs, something 4G is less suited to.

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