Pre-commercial 5G has successfully launched in some countries, and the world is already excited about commercial 5G. A new digital era emerges as almost every household device will be able to connect with the internet, enabling further evolution of IoT.
The impact of 5G will not be limited to networking. New technologies will evolve with the deployment of 5G.
- The mixed reality concept will change the way a common internet user plays a game today
- Concepts of V2X will come to reality
- Doctors will remotely perform critical surgery using robots
- “Cobots” will be empowered in industry
- UHD video streams and automated safety systems will be deployed
Fully functional, reliable 5G will disrupt many technologies and offer better solutions.
Pre-commercial 5G services are already operational in a few countries, and the results are striking. When commercial 5G services get launched in several countries, users will experience incredible improvements in data speeds. 5G will also accelerate the development of many other technologies. From gaming to healthcare, almost every industry will benefit from 5G.
The number of internet-connected devices has been increasing exponentially, causing increasing bandwidth and energy requirements. According to Cisco, by the year 2022, about 12 billion mobile devices will be connected to the internet.[i] As such, 5G technology is designed to deal with limitations that earlier network generations couldn’t sustain. According to an estimate released by the World Economic Forum, by the year 2035, the economic impact of 5G will reach $12 trillion as the 5G network expands. [ii]
100x faster than 4G
5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology with higher speed, lower latency, and better wireless services as compared to 3G and 4G technologies. 5G will enable users to download an 8GB High Definition (HD) movie in about 6 seconds, whereas with 4G LTE, it can take almost 7 minutes and with 3G almost 70 minutes at peak speeds.
Most 4G LTE networks have a 50ms latency, whereas commercial 5G networks will be capable of latencies less than 1ms.[iv] Although 4G LTE can support up to 1Gbps peak speed—good enough for internet usage—it is not immune to signal interference. However, a 5G network’s theoretical peak speed is as much as 20Gbps and immune to almost all interference that 4G cannot withstand.[v],[vi] Theoretically, 5G will be a hundred times faster than 4G at maximum speed.[vii]
Mature 5G technology will enhance industrial automation more than ever. Every automated industry will set up its own private 5G wireless network for addressing bandwidth needs and connecting industrial devices over the network.
Industrial operations are changing, and robotic elements are increasing widely across many industries. As a result, more robust and efficient networks are needed. The concept of human and machine co-working, known as “cobotics,” is emerging. However, implementing advanced cobotics requires human detection, a machine-vision real-time video stream, exceptionally low latency, and assurances of safety. Such advanced features could only be managed with a mature 5G Local Area Network (LAN).[viii] Since mature 5G networks should be able to support the real-time control of hundreds of thousands of devices within every square kilometer, manufacturing has a dramatic potential to become more efficient and significantly increase production. Accordingly, the impact of 5G on cobotics, racking systems, and production systems can revolutionize industrial automation. Interestingly, implementing 5G in industrial automation will not require any significant alterations to the current infrastructure.
Mixed reality streaming
In the future, users won’t necessarily need a gaming computer or a console to play games. Users will be able to play Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR) based games over the network; all they’ll need is live stream capability. As an example, the gaming experience is going to be like Netflix—cloud-based subscription models will be introduced for gaming, and users will not experience any lapses in quality with uber-fast, low-latency connections. To achieve new gaming and entertainment experiences, a network such as 5G that’s robust enough to support game streaming with imperceptible lag is necessary.
Game developers are excited about 5G’s low-latency, and high bandwidth features since enabling users to play any game on any smart device will soon be within reach. LiquidSky, a virtualization firm, in collaboration with Verizon, has already successfully tested game streaming at over 100 frames per second. 5G’s edge-computing and low latency has unlocked a new combination of mixed reality that can produce more realistic and engaging entertainment experiences. 5G will play a key role in future gaming as it matures.
5G will enhance public safety
Public safety has always been a priority in modern society, but monitoring vast or remote regions has always been challenging. With a full-featured 5G network, security systems will enter a new era of communication.
Security systems will someday be equipped with millions of sensors that can locate emergencies with real-time data, thus enabling timely decisions. For example, if a fire starts in a forest, an automated water deployment system could be set to respond. If the emergency is beyond the automated system’s control, the automated system could launch a warning at the fire station or to the local public. Real-time Ultra High Definition (UHD) video streaming will be possible in remote areas via drones. 5G networks will play a key role in modern safety systems.
Remote surgeries around the globe
5G has promising features for the mobile health industry. It should enable doctors to perform remote surgery from anywhere around the globe. Such technology has been already developed and tested in China by Huawei and Fujian Medical University, where a sixty-minute surgery was conducted from 50km away via live signal transmission through 5G technology. The surgery involved a robot controlled over the network with accompanying live video streams. Both the control link and the video streams were entirely transmitted via 5G technology. The low-latency, high-speed, and wide bandwidth of 5G made it possible. The high-quality live video stream enabled the surgeons to both visualize and perform the surgery. The technology is still under development, but eventually, it will enhance further medical advancements.
Advancement towards vehicle-to-everything
A massive “wave of autonomy” is approaching in the development of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology, for which 5G is an essential element. V2X technology will connect multiple radio networks to form a broad network where vehicles will be connected with other vehicles, infrastructure, and even pedestrians. Comprehensive connectivity between multiple networks and vehicles will accelerate remote fleet management services, enhancing traffic safety via a cloud-hosted network.
These V2X systems will be capable of generating warnings ahead of potential risks on roadways. Improving driver awareness by incorporating vehicle statistics and potential risks will reduce accident fatalities. Furthermore, smart communication between vehicles will improve traffic
5G and the economics of entertainment
According to a recent Intel study, the average monthly traffic per 5G subscriber will increase by almost 700% over the next ten years (2019-2028). Most of the traffic usage will account for video streaming. At that point, 3G and 4G networks will be obsolete; neither capable of supporting evolved high-resolution content nor user needs. An estimated $3 trillion cumulative wireless revenue opportunity may be created between 2019 and 2028. About half of the revenue—nearly $1.3 trillion—will be an outcome of 5G and 5G-powered technologies. The report also states that by the year 2025, almost 57% of the global wireless revenue will be generated by 5G technology and 5G-supported devices.[xv]
It looks like 5G will create significant change and enable innovations. Historically, similar significant changes were introduced by the invention of the wheel, the Gutenberg press, steam engines, the internet, and smartphones. Clearly, the potential for vast improvements in connectivity through 5G will have an impact on all aspects of our lives.
[i] Cisco: Global Mobile Networks Will Support More Than 12 Billion Mobile Devices and IoT Connections by 2022; Mobile Traffic Approaching The Zettabyte Milestone, Feb. 2019, CISION PR Newswire.
[v]5G Internet of Things: A survey; June 2018; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2452414X18300037