Admittedly, on some level, I think we've all been asking a lot out of 5G technology. This next generation communications powerhouse has been hyped up immensely and is expected to deliver value on an unprecedented scale, offering everything from rural connectivity to the perfect backbone for the Internet of Things (IoT) and beyond. The industry seems to be about as eager as the end users are, and reports suggest that it's counting on 5G to deliver on its promises.
So far, the next generation communications market is expecting 5G to deliver on several fronts, including a vastly increased capacity, delivered at higher speeds, lower latency, and thus the ability to handle vastly more connections. All of these things are to be delivered with such incredible efficiency that 5G will ultimately be profitable thanks to lower costs.
Given that some figures in the industry, like ATIS senior technology consultant Tom Anderson, are referring to 5G as essentially “LTE (News - Alert) on steroids,” the idea that 5G will actually deliver on its next generation communications promises might seem a trifle off. However, there's a point here that needs to be more closely addressed, recently raised by AT&T (News - Alert)'s director of core and government/regulatory standards Brian Daly: 5G's operations won't just be mobile, but will also have fixed elements going on as well.
Essentially, 5G won't just be 5G, but rather a jumble of interconnections going on at once to get us to a more mobile future going forward. 4G LTE Advanced networks will serve as necessary underpinnings to the future development of a 5G network, and that in turn will provide the necessary speeds required to allow applications onto the network. Others, like Cisco’s (News - Alert) Bob Everson—mobility domain leader for the global service provider segment—note that the investment is going to be “huge,” ultimately, and many aren't seeing a clear business case here.
This sounds ludicrous on its surface; a lack of a clear business case for offering customers a technology that's faster, higher bandwidth and lower latency? Everyone's going to want connectivity like that, and the provider that doesn't have it will likely face a mass exodus of those who do. Yet at the same time, the points from Everson and Daly ring clear: 5G isn't going to be fully 5G for a while, even when all the standards get ironed out and properly established.
Still, there's little doubt that 5G will be a big name in the years ahead, even if it will take years to get there.