There is no doubt that technology has had an incredibly positive impact on our lives. That said, it’s also important to remember that some skepticism is sometimes justified when it comes to big tech trends.
For example, let’s talk about 5G. After all, wouldn’t it promise fully self-driving cars, robotic surgery, smart cities, and all sorts of other futuristic applications with the latest generation of cellular networks?
The simple truth is that the telecom industry touted examples of what 5G was supposed to be capable of in the early days of the technology’s development and deployment, but now seems almost ridiculous.
Their goal, of course, was to get us all excited about the potential for this once-in-a-decade transition to next-generation wireless connectivity. You just completely distorted people’s view of the impact. But that doesn’t mean 5G has completely collapsed.
In fact, it’s far from it. The problem is that most of the impact is in areas the industry didn’t initially anticipate, or in other areas that aren’t obvious to the average consumer.
5G at home
One of the biggest hits of the 5G era so far is officially called Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), but more commonly known as wireless broadband. Essentially, this is a wireless replacement for the typical cable-based internet service.
Initially, 5G was mostly associated with smartphones and other mobile devices, so many people didn’t give it much thought. Moreover, it is not the most exciting or groundbreaking application to replace existing technology.
However, FWA is rapidly gaining popularity with consumers across the country because it is a simpler, easier, and often faster way to connect your home to the Internet. Instead of drilling holes in your house and running cables, you can stick a wireless router near your window and set it up yourself with a simple smartphone app (the service will tell you where you live). (assuming it’s available on your carrier’s website).
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In fact, T-Mobile has more than 2.6 million subscribers to its 5G broadband service, Verizon owns nearly 1.5 million homes and businesses with its wireless broadband, and just last week AT&T entered the fixed wireless business. We have officially announced our entry. likewise.
To be clear, there are faster options for home internet, especially with fiber-based services, but 5G fixed wireless access will suffice for most people. In addition, we are often able to reach out to regions that are not easily served by other options.
PCs and 5G
Another booming opportunity is PCs with 5G (more on this topic in previous row). Now that everyone starts moving again, we’re still using PCs everywhere for his Teams, Zoom, Webex, etc. meetings, but the need and value of these devices is very clear. has become
Unfortunately, pricing and availability of 5G-equipped PCs is still a challenge, but we expect to see significant improvements later this year.
One of the most widely touted features of 5G was expected to be about connected devices and sensors. The idea was that the increased speed and bandwidth of 5G over 4G would unleash a torrent of cellular-connected devices, from AR and VR headsets to cars, consumer electronics, and more.
In fact, some of these initiatives are beginning to materialize, but most are niche applications for specific vertical industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and agriculture. Many of these projects are starting to make an impact, and I can easily see that.
5G in business
5G applications are also starting to increase on the business side. Many companies have started setting up so-called “private 5G” networks that are accessible only to employees or work machines. They are often used to complement or enhance existing Wi-Fi networks. This is because it can provide significant security and performance benefits.
Ironically, the least visible impact from 5G is arguably the most anticipated side of the smartphone spectrum. For example, as many have noticed, download speeds in many situations are not that different from 4G. It’s important to note that it’s virtually impossible to find a phone that doesn’t have it.
In other words, the impact is real, just a little more than we would have liked.
We may not see a true killer application for 5G in the near future, but there is a glimmer of hope. Several key underlying technologies, including what is called network slicing, are beginning to be deployed by major US carriers. These network-based improvements are expected to create new kinds of his 5G-specific services for businesses and consumers.
Additionally, we are starting to see widespread deployment of new frequencies for cellular networks, especially those called C-band or mid-band, which should significantly boost 5G download speeds.
This may not be as exciting as the sci-fi-like features the industry touted, but it offers real-world benefits we can all appreciate.