In this article we look at 5G and what it offers businesses? 5G refers to the fifth generation of technological standards for broadband networks (hence its suitably apt name). Broadband networks – the last generation of which was known as 4G – work by connecting digital devices to one another via radio waves, which are relayed by antennae placed throughout local areas.

How Is 5G Different From 4G?

Where 5G differs from its predecessor is that it adds a number of higher frequencies to the range used for connecting devices to the internet – this, in turn, means faster speeds.

The additional frequencies only form one part of the wider 5G raft of innovations. 5G also encompasses a range of standard updates and structural changes which are designed to enable IT services to operate in a faster and more efficient way. Notably 5G communications will also allow networks to be “sliced”, meaning that one network can be used efficiently by a range of user classes.

All of these developments contained within 5G broadband contribute to a quantum leap in digital speeds for users. The added capacity built into the standard means that 5G networks will be able to function at 10 gigabits per second; almost >100 times</a> faster than 4G networks. This level of speed is transformational in terms of the functionality that it can deliver, for businesses and consumer alike.

How Is 5G Being Implemented?

As discussed above, 5G requires the construction of antennae (usually attached to masks) to service individual “cells” of connected devices. As such, its spread is limited to those areas where antennae – as well as all the various other pieces of necessary infrastructure – have been set up. In the UK these antennae are being rapidly constructed, with a particular focus on large urban areas; major network operators like EE are expecting their 5G service to reach 50% of the UK’s population by early 2023, and 90% by 2028.

In Your Office

Although a lot of media attention has (understandably) been focused upon the opportunities that 5G generates for consumers, such as faster streaming and improved latency, 5G is likely to revolutionise the construction industry and infrastructure management too.

The Internet Of Things (IOT)

One of the key drivers for the introduction of 5G was the concept of an “Internet of Things”, whereby all manner of items (fridges, cars, furniture, for example) would gain connectivity and digital functionality. This isn’t just useful in the consumer space; it can mean an enormous change for how you run your business. Imagine an office in which stationery and supplies were automatically ordered whenever they were running low; where heating and electric systems can diagnose when maintenance might be necessary; where plant and machinery can be operated from sites offshore.

Naturally the Internet of Things won’t be an overnight revolution; it relies not only on 5G being rolled out widely but also upon the development of appropriate technology which can take full advantage of it. However much of the necessary infrastructure is already being developed by manufacturers in anticipation of wide access to 5G – business owners should start thinking about how to engage with the Internet of Things sooner rather than later.

Cyber Security

5G isn’t merely a shift in hardware; it also involves a change in wider technical standards. One part of this is a general tightening of safety standards. 5G network architecture is generally seen as being more resilient against most of the known forms of security threat – viruses, SIM hacking, and others. For business owners, an attack on their systems can be absolutely critical and can lead to huge costs; the shift to 5G will mitigate this.

It will also help with the shift to flexible working and BYOD; 5G is inherently suited to large numbers of devices accessing local networks, and to being able to securely verify the identities of those devices. Unlike 4G and other predecessor connectivity protocols, 5G will encrypt user identification details when they log on to an antenna, resulting in less potential of data leakage and a greater scope for GDPR compliance as well.

The Internet Of The Future

The rise of 5G connectivity is as inevitable as it is exciting. Anyone who owns or uses a digital device will be affected by it, and will soon be able to enjoy the benefits that come with it. But as with all technological innovations, a methodical and thought-through approach is always best; start thinking today and be prepared for the oncoming technological revolution.

What Does This Mean For Your Business

Though 5G offers great promise for companies and consumers alike, it would be prudent to start planning ahead for how it might impact businesses. Managers should investigate professional advice as to how to implement 5G solutions within their firms, as well as looking into any security hazards which the transition to 5G might bring – this will be particularly important where buildings are accessed by a large number of devices, and it will be important to ensure that up-to-date firewalls and other cybersecurity features are installed.

Businesses should also start considering whether now would be a good time to start planning for a replacement of much of their networking infrastructure. Those who issue company phones or laptops may want to make sure that their next round of devices is 5G-compatible; similarly a lot of day-to-day objects may soon be part of the Internet of Things, and it would be sensible to think about whether 5G-ready versions should be considered.

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