Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard that 5G is on the horizon. All the 5G buzz might seem over-hyped to some. We all watched as 3G evolved into 4G, which then gave way to 4G LTE. 5G is not just the next iteration in that process of mobile network evolution, though. 5G represents a massive shift in mobile communications, one that will be a game changer for everyone from the casual mobile user to the enterprise.
According to Dennis H. Goodhart of No Jitter, 5G will have “the most immediate impact on your network and business in the next several years… 5G is the panacea that will solve all of your communications problems.” Indeed, the deployment of 5G across the enterprise does hold the potential to revolutionize business communications. But in order to really understand what 5G means for the enterprise, we must first delve a bit more deeply into what 5G actually is.
What is 5G?
You can’t have a discussion about 5G without discussing 3GPP, a consortium of seven telecommunications standards-development organizations that was responsible for giving us LTE and the earlier 3G mobile standards.
It is 3GPP who has set the specifications and guidelines dictating what 5G is. 5G specifically refers to the next two iterations of 3GPP specifications, Release 15 which is to be released in 2018 and Release 16 which will debut in 2020.
5G isn’t just about more phone bandwidth. The advent and adoption means enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) that delivers more throughput, higher densities and better covers. 5G also will play a large part in spurring the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), as 5G will be able to handle billions of connected sensors, machines and wearables at a higher density than is currently possible while simultaneously minimizing device power requirements. 5G will ultimately remove many of the barriers inherent in mobile communications today; it will power the digital economy and fuel the intelligent enterprise.
5G clearly offers a whole host of advantages, but will require new infrastructure, new technology and considerable investments for a successful 5G deployment. This is part of the reason why 5G won’t fully be in place until around 2018-2020. Is 5G worth the wait? Absolutely.
What 5G Means for the Enterprise
The benefits of 5G for the enterprise are clear. 5G will offer more reliable communications with improved security at a lower cost. Additionally, its scalability and ability to provide communications to low-cost, IoT-embedded sensors will take us a step closer to the smart office of the future.
5G also holds the potential for higher throughput (theoretically up to a maximum of 10 gigabits per second) and very low latency, which could potentially enable the ability to run existing and new core enterprise applications on a network that was previously only suitable for supporting mobile apps.
Another 5G implementation that could positively affect the enterprise is fixed wireless access. 5G could potentially replace a physical connection (such as fiber) and simplify management and maintenance while reducing costs.
These are just a few ways that 5G could benefit the enterprise, and there are other potentialities that will undoubtedly emerge as we move closer to widespread 5G deployment. Only time will tell what the impact of 5G on the enterprise will be, but one thing is for certain: it will be huge.