Thursday, January 30, 2020

5G Check-in: Its Impact on Mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT)

5G has made strides in some of the large tech cities (Hello – San Fran, Indianapolis, Chicago, etc.) and you’ve probably heard a thing or two about 5G. Different carriers are rolling-out this new 5G network at their own pace and 2020 is expected to be the year of 5Gs global launch. But what does a 5G network actually mean for you and your mobile experience? Let’s think big picture – The Internet of Things (IoT) will be more connected than ever due to speedier connections between technology, decrease in lag time when streaming, and increased capacity through the network allowing simultaneous connectivity. Today it can take up to a few minutes to download a feature film with 4G LTE, but with 5G that time could be reduced to no more than a few seconds. Let’s dive a little deeper into the details of 5G and how 5G will enhance our mobile experience as consumers and the mobile marketing strategy we’ll need to develop as marketers.

Speedier Connections

As consumers, we expect ridiculously fast load times for everything connected to the Internet. Nothing proves that point more so than data with  53 percent of mobile website visitors leave a webpage if it doesn’t load within three seconds. Yikes! But wait, 5G will increase speed by at least 10 times that of 4G. No more waiting for Netflix to load for this girl! Can I get an Amen?!

This also means consumers will have even higher expectations on load times in the future. In the Mobile Matters podcast episode with Bill Soards, President of AT&T Indiana, Soards shares 5G will increase the expectations of consumers while also allowing companies to truly experience  what IoT can do for their business.

Lower Network Latency

Let’s look at what latency is first – latency is the gap between when data is sent from the sender and when it is delivered to the receiver. Think about the lag you can have when you are streaming a live game vs. watching it on your TV. Your streaming device is usually a few seconds or milliseconds behind compared to the TV. With 5G networks you can expect the average latency to drop to 1 millisecond (ms) compared to 50ms with a 4G network.

A decrease in latency not only helps with consumer satisfaction online but will open endless possibilities too. For example, lower latency for gamers will allow for almost immediate reactions, you press a button on your controller and your action happens almost immediately. Now think back to interconnectivity and 5G truly being a catalyst for IoT strategy – there has been hustle and bustle around self-driving cars for a while but we sometimes roll our eyes and think “Okay, I’ve heard you talk the talk but I want to see you walk the walk” type deal. 5G will open the doors to allow prompt interactions between technologies. Whether it be cars, appliances, phones, etc. 5G will allow millions of devices to be connected and interact promptly with one another with low latency and high speeds. I loved reading what Frank Gillett, technology analyst for Forrester Research, had to say on 5G “You can see why that’s not very relevant today but very useful tomorrow.” 

5G is not only preparing us for the future of mobile but an endless interconnected future of technology.

Increased Capacity

We’ve spoken a lot about the increased speed and decreased latency 5G networks offer but that doesn’t help clear up the fact the 4G network is congested. I mean like LA rush-hour highway congested! If we are talking about increasing the IoT connectivity where is the bandwidth going to come from to offer more capacity in the network? The answer is mmWaves and sub-6GHz bandwidth. These two bandwidths will work in tandem with one another across the 5G network. mmWaves are millimeter wave technology that have increased bandwidth. Let’s compare the bandwidth of 4G and 5G bandwidth opportunities.

  • 4G plans account for 5MHz-20MHz of bandwidth
  • 5G sub-6GHz plans can combine up to two 100 MHz channels
  • 5G mmWave plans will support up to 800 MHz

There are a few key features about mmWaves that are important to note. Although they have an extreme amount of bandwidth, mmWaves also come with a few drawbacks. mmWaves have a short range of connectivity and are easily blocked by walls, meaning there will need to be more nodes for the 5G network than there are for 4G. This will cost time and resources for the carriers to get up and running. Luckily, the top carriers like Verizon and AT&T have already started building this network out during the past few years!

5G network has the opportunity to turn the IoT into the IoE (Internet of Everything) with the increased capacity opportunities and truly have a digital transformation. I’m personally excited to see how 5G impacts our daily life in the next couple years and the technological advancements that will happen due to increased speed, decreased latency, and capacity 5G will offer to both businesses and consumers.