Transformative Technology: 5G and What It Means
By Don Durden, Vice President of National Operations at Allstate Sales Group
Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about telephony, along comes 5G.
We’ve all been hearing and anticipating the introduction of 5G into the cellular world and now it’s becoming a reality. Because there’s not a single definition of 5G, I won’t bore you with all the technical stuff.
Let me try to address the major problems with 4G that the new technology is trying to overcome. The four biggest problems that 5G is designed to overcome are speed, latency, capacity and poor service. The speed difference between 4G and 5G is the difference between a drinking straw and a firehose. The maximum transfer speed currently with 4G is 100 Mbps in ideal conditions while the transfer speed with 5G is estimated at 10Gb/s. In simpler terms, that means a HD movie could be downloaded to your iPad in about a second.
The next issue is latency. Latency is what we might call “delay,” but it’s really the time it takes for your voice or data to go from your cell phone to the tower, through the network and end up on someone else’s cell. The current network strives for latency of less than half a second. 5G is less than one millisecond. This opens additional opportunities for telemedicine, autonomous driving, gaming, content delivery and industrial automation.
The next issue is capacity. All cell coverage operates in a limited number of shared “bands,” which can cause congestion and system failures in high volume times. 5G uses millimeter wave (mmWave) bands that are in the radio spectrum.
Without a physics lesson, let’s say that this allows the carriers more “space” on the bands that are available and will avoid the problems of congestion, at least for now.
Finally, is the issue of coverage. Because the higher frequency mmWave bands need smaller antennas, the technology is adapting to smaller cell sites commonly called “micro-cells.” Rather than a huge pole with multiple antennas, there may be one small antenna and transmitter on an existing phone or power pole.
This lets the carriers do more, with less cost, and lets them expand to rural areas that haven’t had coverage before.
5G will offer us new opportunities as the technology is rolled out. Programs like Smart Cities, Intelligent Video, intelligent Traffic, and Micro-Cell installation are just the beginning of how ASG will be a player in this new and exciting world.
Don Durden is the Vice President of Compliance at Allstate Sales Group (ASG). ASG was founded in 2008 to support IT and communication companies. Since that inception, the business has grown into an international firm with over 500 full-time employees, delivering everything communication companies need, from engineering design and construction to right of way to running the “last mile” of cable.