5G is an abbreviation for fifth-generation mobile networks. It is a new worldwide wireless standard that follows the 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks as previous wireless standards. 5G enables a new type of network that connects practically everyone and everything, including machines, objects, and devices, and can do so across long distances.
According to the World Economic Forum, there will be 9.1 billion mobile subscribers worldwide by 2023, an astounding number. The telecom-focused technology giant Cisco Systems predicts that by 2020, connected mobile devices will generate 30.6 exabytes per month and that worldwide mobile data traffic would reach 366.8 exabytes per year on an annual basis (one exabyte is one quintillion bytes).
5G is being developed to fulfil this need soon. The new network standard will not only bring about a generational jump in connectivity speeds, but it will also bring about lower latency (for improved response) and the capacity to connect more devices at the same time.
In other words, after years of 5G hype and enthusiasm, we are now witnessing tangible progress—proof of concept demonstrations, field testing, network build-outs, and early deployments—and 5G is on the verge of becoming a reality for the first time. The issue is, what will it be able to provide?
Due to the decrease of conventional telecom revenues, the rapid commoditization of connection, and the erosion of consumer confidence, much of the attention (and hope) is being focused on generating new income for mobile network operators.
Despite the numerous benefits of 5G that have been widely acknowledged, mobile network operators are still seeking clear proof of a return on their investment (RoI). It is a significant financial commitment.
According to industry estimates, this will likely equate to a combined expenditure of billions of dollars in new network equipment, licenses, and implementation. So, what, if any, difference will 5G make in practice?
The following are five 5G-powered use cases that mobile network operators must be prepared for, avoiding the obvious temptation to say “Internet of Things” (IoT).
These use cases are as follows: Industry 4.0, mixed reality (MR) applications, which are a combination of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), sports and entertainment, fixed wireless access, and autonomous vehicles.
The manufacturing business, like many other industries, is undergoing a digital transformation now.
Manufacturers are becoming more productive in the framework of Industry 4.0 by incorporating automation and data sharing into their existing industrial processes, resulting in more integrated workflows and smarter manufacturing, among other benefits.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies is streamlining and simplifying numerous production processes in groundbreaking ways.
Examples include manufacturing robots that include sensors or software that can communicate information to remote teams; applications that can gather real-time feedback and provide warnings when defective or damaged items are received; and apps that can track the working schedules of factory employees.
5G plays a critical role in this transformational process, particularly as the usage of augmented reality and virtual reality applications in manufacturing continues to expand to assist the achievement of manufacturers’ Industry 4.0 ambitions.
This is followed by MR applications, which are expected to be a major driver of 5G adoption.
Beyond the consumer market (think Pokémon Go), it is probable that intriguing uses will be found in the industrial and medical sectors, among other places.
In addition to remote medical operations and engineering, public safety applications and field-service applications are excellent use cases for implementing low-latency 5G services.
Audiences at athletic and entertainment events will also benefit from 5G, which will provide a considerably improved experience.
A mix of virtual reality and augmented reality, along with super high-fidelity offered by 5G, might completely alter the way spectators interact with these events.
Motorsports, in particular, is a good fit for virtual reality: with their mobile device or VR headset, spectators may be fed information such as lap times or technical information on vehicles while watching a race on the track in a sport such as Formula 1.
Providing connectivity alone does not represent the full extent of the possibility. To provide entertainment services directly to clients through their self-service applications, mobile network operators might form agreements with broadcasters and sports groups.
A fixed wireless access network might potentially offer high-bandwidth digital services to rural regions that are currently underserved. Therefore, it will become possible for mobile operators to compete with wireline and satellite service providers and cable and satellite firms, enabling new income streams and faster return on investment.
Last but not least, autonomous driving is perhaps the most 5G-centric application (level four and above). This is the concept that a significant portion, if not all, of the vehicle’s operation, is managed by technology rather than the driver.
5G will be crucial in achieving this since it will provide the connectivity and speed required to transmit massive quantities of data simultaneously and other things simultaneously and to other people.
Even though a powerful 5G mobile network will allow for more decentralization, a totally smooth mobile experience is required for autonomous vehicles to thrive for the vehicles to remain continually connected truly.
To build IT architecture that can be implemented globally while yet allowing for specialized technology to accommodate varied regional needs, several challenges must be addressed: Coverage, dependability, and scalability must all be maximized, and smooth mobile networks will necessitate the adoption of a single management strategy to guarantee that standards are adhered to consistently.
5G offers significant potential for the mobile sector to reap the advantages of collaborative efforts in a significant way.
However, the mobile ecosystem as a whole must recognize the constraints imposed by frequency allocation, network investment, legislative limits, and the availability of cash for investment to operate together effectively.
The vast potential of 5G can be realized if various parties, including the government and network equipment companies, collaborate to identify commercially viable and desirable customer solutions. If this happens, 5G will realize the vast potential that has been attributed to it in recent years.