5G, fifth generation wireless system, is the latest version of global mobile networking system. Compared to its predecessor 4G, it guarantees even faster speed in accessing data, larger data capacity, lower latency and more adaptive to user demand (from human mobile network to Internet of Things).
The leaps from 4G to 5G will be tremendous and incredible. We can predict this great disruption era from the change of 3G to 4G in the past. This jump not only increased the number of mobile users (74% increase in 2015), but also help the development of streaming service (Netflix is one of the example) and mobile apps. However, the changes brought by 5G will be even bigger. While the current bandwidth speed of common “home-style” connectivity is 36Mbps, 5G networks could easily reach 1Gbps and above. That being said, the latency will rapidly drop from 4G’s average of 45ms to around 1ms with 5G network.
What does this dramatic change mean to our lives and business?
It means maximize productivity and daily conveniency. Take file download for an example, as data become part of our life, the volume and quantity of data become substantial. Under 5G network, it is easy to download a 5GB file in no more than a minutes; however, with the current 4G connectivity, it requires at least 20 minutes to successfully download the file.
Moreover, 5G networks create bigger data capacity and large bandwidth which enable greater number of users access data at the same time. The efficiency will not be affected if multiple tasks have been conducted at the same location and same moment. Also, the network will be more stable; that means, if the user is traveling in a racing car, the speed and quality of network will not be impacted.
How important is self-driving car in the future? Very! And it seems to be an inevitable trend without any questions. It is widely regarded as a way to save energy, improve road efficiency, and prevent damages from careless driving. The more idealistic side of it is the creation a new market. As Intel comments, this futuristic sector – they call it ‘Passenger Economy’ – will be predicted to have a $7 trillion value by 2050. While drivers will all turn to be passengers, we will need more recreation resolution in cars and also more possibilities are awaited for us to explore.
What concerns do we have and how could 5G help us to solve the problem?
One of the biggest concerns with self-driving cars is safety issue. Human tend to trust themselves more than machines; thus, the ability of those autonomous cars to correctly detect obstacles and signs, efficiently follow maps and avoid collision is deeply questioned by overall populations.
Nevertheless, the development of 5G network can ensure a brighter future of autonomous car. With huge data capacity, fast processing speed, and incredibly low latency, 5G is totally capable to guarantee the safety of passengers better than its predecessors.
The potentiality of 5G in IoT technology proves to be promising. With the additional help from 5G connection, more and more devices, machines, appliances are able to connect together, work efficiently and simultaneously, in a faster speed and lower cost.
More prospective result will be in developing advanced health treatment and more accurate diagnosis for patients. 5G network will take responsibility for delivering and storing tremendous amount of data and help to form correct treatment and medical plan based on the efficient IoT network. It will also contribute to the development of remote surgery and even the futuristic robotic surgery.
Problem in implementing 5G
The first 5G networks will be available to use in 2020. But before that, there are still many big problems needed to be resolved. One of the biggest problem is to figure out the business model and how to monetize 5G to cover the overwhelming cost.
More advanced infrastructures require more expensive upgrading and overhauling fees. Service providers generally concern that they will not be able to generate enough revenue to cover the cost. For the previous business model of 4G, people are willing to subscribe the service and service providers are able to reinvest the money in building and sustaining the connectivity. However, 5G requires more money and there is no guarantee that subscribers will purchase the new service. They probably are satisfied with the current service and think 5G is not worth that money. Also, for many parts of the world, the capability of 4G network has not been entirely developed and utilized. Perhaps, service providers should put more money into further explore the potentiality and increase the popularity of 4G. And later, when all come naturally, it will be a good idea to bring more advanced technology to our lives.
Competitive advantage of first-mover
For China, revenue recognition has never been a problem in developing 5G network. Chinese government’s top-down policy ensure telecom companies to have adequate amount of money in upgrading 5G infrastructure since they regard it as a “strategic emerging industry” which will become a “new area of growth.” Chinese government has owned three biggest telecom companies in China; therefore, to develop and implement 5G network is counted as the execution of governmental policy.
While the other countries are still in reluctance, China has already started to build test 5G network in a new cities outside Beijing. Chinese government provide substantial supports, money and benefits to tech companies and local business if they are researching or developing 5G related technologies. For example, Baidu is helping to make 5G to be efficiently used in life. They used 5G network in enhancing experience with virtual reality and collecting data for self-driving cars to avoid collision. As China continuously lead the competition in 5G, it is possible to become the leader in IoT network and be able to export its own innovative products to other countries.
There is an interesting article talking about US and China’s position in developing 5G, called “Does It Matter If China Beats the US to Build a 5G Network?” I attached the link below: https://www.wired.com/story/does-it-matter-if-china-beats-the-us-to-build-a-5g-network/