How The 5G Network Can Help Your Business
5G has been all over the news lately but more has been said about the rollout of this new network rather than what it is or what its promise may be for businesses and consumers. The launching of this network has implications for not just smartphones on wireless networks, but Smart Cities like Kansas City, MO, which has installed municipal Internet of Things (IoT) platforms that control smart streetlights, monitor traffic congestion, and determine the optimal trash pickup schedule for its downtown corridor. But what can 5G do for small businesses and entrepreneurs? Read on to find out what exactly 5G is and how it may benefit your company.
What is 5G?
Simply put, 5G is the next – that is, the fifth – generation of cellular networking. But what does that mean in terms of improving upon our current 4G networks?
- Faster Speeds: 4G (or LTE) networks provide speeds of up to 100 Mbps, but wireless carriers usually average between 5 and 12 Mbps between the network and your devices. 5G is expected to provide speeds between 10 and 20 Gbps on average. That increase in speed corresponds to an increase in data transmission. As an example, the Consumer Technology Association has said that, at average speeds, a user could download an HD-quality 2 hour movie over a 5G network connection in just 3.6 seconds compared to 6 minutes over 4G.
- Lower Latency: If you’ve ever tried to stream a full movie on your wireless network rather than a wifi network, you’ve likely experienced buffering and delays – that’s latency; the time it takes a network to “talk” to a device connected to it. On 4G networks, latency averages between 40 and 50 milliseconds, and much more if there’s a lot of devices are connected to a network at one time. With 5G, that time is expected to be reduced to 1 millisecond or less, meaning the annoyance of buffering could soon be a thing of the past.
- Greater Capacity: As mentioned above, when a lot of devices are connected to and using bandwidth on a network at one time, it slows down everyone’s connections to that network. 5G will have a much greater capacity, allowing for many more devices to be connected to a network without a noticeable delay in communications.
- Improved Battery Life: Slower networks require devices to communicate much more frequently with them, which leads to increased power consumption and decreased battery life. 5G will cut the amount of time needed for devices to communicate with its network, which should lead to drastically less battery drain.
How Can 5G Benefit My Business
5G has the potential to reshape how businesses large and small engage with their customers and operate on a day-to-day basis. While companies and individuals will need to begin transitioning from their current 4G compatible to 5G devices, that investment could pay dividends. Early investment in this technology could put companies way ahead of the curve and provide them with these benefits before the rest of their industry has a chance to catch up.
- Better Real-Time Communications: Fast and reliable communications are vital both for conversations between co-workers and calls from your customers. 5G networks will improve communications through better quality phone calls over wireless networks, as well as more reliable video chat for industries like telemedicine.
- Improve Productivity: Businesses are more reliant on network-related tasks than ever – whether that’s utilizing online sales, sharing documents and spreadsheets across the cloud, or internet-hosted billing platforms like Quickbooks and Stripe, we depend on being able to access these platforms quickly. With 5G, companies will have access to faster internet speeds, meaning that tasks on these online services will be performed more quickly, leading to less time wasted waiting for sites to load, files to finish downloading or uploading, and quicker access to our data. Overall the investment into 5G capable devices will pay for itself through cost-saving and increased revenue from these productivity boosts.
- Rural Access and Innovation: 5G presents a welcome (and overdue) opportunity to improve internet access to rural areas, which will help businesses in those communities enjoy the benefits of e-commerce platforms and give online retailers a greater pool of potential customers to reach.
- Working Remotely: 5G has the potential to level the playing field when it comes to working remotely. Currently, employees who work outside of their company’s offices are subject to the whims of their area’s network capabilities. With 5G available, employees will be able to function and communicate with their co-workers and customers in a faster, more reliable way. When paired with a virtual phone system like AccessDirect, your callers will be able to reach any employee whether they’re in the home office or their own home – they’d be linked with the rest of your company within the same phone system, and enjoy the same phone call quality as those employees working from the office.
- Tailored Networks: Through a customized, tailored 5G network businesses can significantly improve the overall speed at which they utilize their network. Through what’s called network slicing, which is a way for companies to create multiple virtual networks through a single physical system, you’ll be able to set up and own your own private 5G network designed to operate based on your specific needs. While 5G itself will open your overall network capacity, a tailored network will allow you to specifically allot bandwidth to services and devices. This ability to specifically prioritize your network will not only use your connection more intelligently, but also will ensure you’re only using the resources you need to for each application you use.
How to Take Advantage of 5G
Upgrading to 5G will take some foresight and planning from your business. Ensure that any new devices or IT infrastructure you invest in will be compatible with the new network. Begin taking an inventory of your current tech devices (like your smart phones) that are not compatible and start upgrading those to ones that are. Begin looking at your systems and services that are not currently in the cloud and start transferring them to it.
One of the best pieces of advice we’ve seen is to appoint someone within your company to start building a “road map” to 5G. Have them compile a list to see what’s compatible, what’s not, what services can be transferred to the cloud, what can’t, and what potential services could be taken advantage of once 5G has been deployed. Have them start planning now so that when the network is launched, you’ll be able to start taking advantage immediately.
Finally, you will need to see if your current telecommunications provider will be rolling out 5G to their customers, and if not, you’ll need to start researching and find a new company that will. Each telecom company will likely deploy 5G at their own pace, so find a provider that is planning on aggressively rolling out this technology. Early adoption will put you at the forefront of your industry and get you ahead of the curve.
While it will take time for 5G to be deployed by carriers, the changes we can expect to see once it starts to gain widespread usage has the potential to revolutionize the way we do business. Smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) is at the forefront of consumer and business technology, and early adopters are reaping the benefits of these exciting new products. Make sure that your business is ready for the next technological revolution by ensuring you’re ready for 5G.