5G is the current latest internet technology and the successor of the 4G mobile network. It has been declared as a world-changing phenomenon in many ways.
So, is it really that useful- or is 5G overrated?
Technically speaking, 5G is indeed an innovation that is proving to be potentially groundbreaking in certain applications.
First of all, 5G is said to be super fast- potentially 100 times faster than 4G– with low latency, high bandwidth, and abilities to allow systems to run in near real-time.
This doesn’t mean much in the practical world except that your download will be a little bit faster. However, 5G is a significant innovation in the global industries that makes IoT (Internet of Things) possible.
Artificial intelligence and cloud services will also become faster, better, and more reliable.
5G may seem overrated to the average consumer, but it certainly has a vital role in the technical world.
Moreover, it’s a stepping stone or a starting point for the eventual 6G technology. That’s right- it just keeps going and going!
So, Why Do Some People Say 5G Is Overhyped?
5G is the fifth generation mobile wireless internet network and one of the fastest connectivity technologies currently available.
A faster network subsequently means faster downloads as well.
In real-life terms, that means you may be able to download a 4K movie in a matter of seconds on 5G speeds as opposed to a few minutes on other networks!
It enhances gaming experience and helps enterprises work in near-real-time scenarios as well.
Yet, 5G still isn’t everyone’s favorite.
We aren’t talking about environmental activists either.
Some people feel that 5G is overhyped (“Why is my 5G slower than LTE??!!!!?”, unnecessary, and doesn’t really offer anything wonderful.
After all, a little extra speed may or may not make that much difference.
Those who share these sentiments aren’t completely wrong.
To the regular user who uses the internet for a bit of surfing and movie-streaming, the 4G network is usually enough.
You’re already watching movies and videos on online platforms such as Youtube without any buffering.
You can already play online games and stream them using the same network.
So, how exactly can 5G be the life-changing experience that it’s lauded to be?
The answer lies in the business and service industries.
Organizations now prefer to use cloud services instead of in-house IT systems and applications.
The database, apps, tools, and just about everything else required for day-to-day work are placed on a cloud platform or in a remote location. The only way to stay connected with the cloud is through the Internet.
In such instances, even the slightest improvement in speed- which 5G is able to easily provide- can mean a big difference in work efficiency.
The excess speed that doesn’t mean much for a general user will mean a lot more to an enterprise.
All in all, it’s largely a matter of perspective and requirements- as 5G allows the use of technologies that couldn’t be run on the 4G network!
Is 5G Really Worth It?
The short answer?
5G aims to blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds.
The Metaverse, IoT, Edge Computing, and extended reality are all possible with high-speed internet networks like 5G.
Let’s look at some applications and uses of 5G technology.
Artificial intelligence and robotics have a vital role in the health industry.
Though remote surgeries are expensive in today’s world, we cannot ignore their obvious advantages.
A robot assisting a surgeon or performing an operation as the surgeon gives instructions from a remote location can save countless lives.
The use of 5G technology can certainly pave the way for the future.
5G capabilities also include providing the necessary technology for hospitals to use computer vision and machine learning applications for diagnosis and treatment.
The success of autonomous vehicles lies in how well the vehicles communicate with each other through the connected network.
This means that the data has to be transferred continuously from one vehicle to another to avoid accidents and traffic jams.
While this isn’t yet a reality, the efficiency of the 5G network will determine how soon it can bring autonomous vehicles into the mainstream market.
5G offers a high-speed wireless network, low latency, and a secure connection. This allows data sharing and analytics work in almost real-time conditions.
Video analytics is used to recognize spatial and temporal events in videos.
By running analytics in near-real-time, businesses and agencies now have a higher chance of making decisions in a split second based on accurate insights.
We are already using immersive applications like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR).
Holographics and extended reality (ER) are the subsequent stages, and are already being tested in the medical field.
Even though a 5G network cannot yet handle next-gen 8K videos, we can still use VR headsets (some of which are fast becoming affordable) for entertainment purposes.
IoT (Internet Of Things)
IoT for home appliances is more likely to use the Wi-Fi network, but enterprises may not risk using a wireless network for continuous data transmission.
5G will likely play a major role in building smart cities and smart applications, which can further enhance their efficiency through the 5G rollout.
What Is The Downside To 5G?
5G is certainly not without a few imperfections, despite being so useful in various ways. Let’s take a look at some examples of how 5G isn’t all good.
Lack Of Infrastructure
For 5G to deliver its best service, we need an all-new, enhanced, nationwide 5G infrastructure that can fully support the technology.
As you might imagine, building such an infrastructure is expensive and time-consuming.
Furthermore, it will likely be of little use once 6G is eventually introduced. Unfortunately, the gap between theory and practical applications will remain.
The 5G network, right now, is available only in very few countries and is further limited to certain areas/ regions.
It will take a long time for 5G services to be available throughout the entire world.
5G potentially increases download speed by around 100 times when compared to 4G- that part’s undeniable
However, the upload speed didn’t exactly see the same improvement. Simply put, there isn’t much difference between the upload speed of a 4G and 5G network.
Data is personal and confidential, and needs to be safeguarded in a world where cybercrimes are rampant.
Though the 5G network enables a secure connection, it’s not impervious to being hacked. In fact, 5G uses software that is vulnerable to attacks.
The more devices you connect to the network, the higher the risk of a data breach.
Devices And Technology
Only a handful of the latest smartphones and devices have been built to be compatible with the 5G network.
As such, it may not be possible to use your older phones (such as an iPhone X) with the new network. The same goes for the systems in an enterprise.
How many people will want to get rid of their phones to use the high-speed network of 5G, especially when the connectivity hasn’t been as great as promised?
Is 5G Faster Than Wi-Fi?
Unlike 5G, Wi-Fi is run on an unlicensed spectrum and is mostly designed for indoor use.
Wi-Fi technology works only within the router range, while a mobile network can work anywhere as long as you have a stable signal.
On the face of it, 5G should be faster than 4G, LTE and a wireless home network connection.
However, this does depend on which Wi-Fi network you use.
Wi-Fi runs on two frequencies- 2.4GHz and 5GHz. While 2.4GHz has a higher penetration but slower speed, the 5GHz frequency has a higher speed and lesser penetration.
Wi-Fi 6 is said to be 40% faster than Wi-Fi 5 (try not to confuse this with 5G) and more efficient in delivering high-speed internet to a larger number of connections.
Of course, the devices must be compatible to work with the Wi-Fi 6 network, just like how they need to be designed for the 5G network.
Theoretically, 5G offers a maximum speed of 10Gbps, and Wi-Fi 6 offers around 9.6 Gbps.
However, it’s not likely that we will touch these speeds when using either network in the real world.
Will 5G Replace Wi-Fi?
No. 5G will not replace Wi-Fi.
The developments in the mobile carrier network were once said to potentially affect home internet connections.
However, 3G and 4G definitely didn’t replace the Wi-Fi network.
The same will happen to 5G. People will continue to use both Wi-Fi and 5G whenever necessary. There will always be users for different types of internet connections.
5G and Wi-Fi 6 technologies have pros and cons that complement each other, and thus have the ability to co-exist to cater to various customer requirements.
Statistics show that there are nine billion devices connected to Wi-Fi, with more than three billion being added to the list every year.
The estimate for 5G connections is only around 1.5 billion by 2024.
Moreover, the purpose, range, usability, and features of the 5G network are different from Wi-Fi.
We need both networks, and replacing one with another will only lead to inconvenience!
Do 5G phones require a new SIM card?
Yes, though the actual answer depends on the mobile carrier you use and when you received the SIM card.
If you want to get the best of the 5G network, you need to use the latest SIM card designed to be compatible with 5G phones and networks.
5G is the latest high-speed wireless mobile network that enables faster downloads thanks to low latency and higher bandwidth.
Some people consider 5G the way to the future, while others say it’s overrated and hyped.
There’s truth in both statements.
5G has its undeniable advantages, but it isn’t perfect nor an ultimate solution.
Instead, it’s a starting point to a better and more efficient technology that promises to make our lives better now and into the future!