Traditionally, governments have looked for ways to expand their cable networks so that everyone can have fast internet access. But with fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology now offering super-fast internet speeds without the need for a fixed-line connection, could we one day do away with cables all together?
5G is defined by ultra-high-speed data transfers. When delivered over millimeter-wave frequencies, 5G can match the speed and latency of fiber-optic broadband, with predicted downloads of 1 GB per second and ping times under ten milliseconds.
The rates can go up to 10 GB per second. Apart from the speed, 5G networks are also capable of ensuring low latency rates and can cater to many devices within a square km area without any disruptions.
Similar to broadband which delivers internet via wireless services like microwave or satellite, or a direct-wired connection like cable or fiber, 5G can deliver internet through a direct wireless connection.
5G wifi is simply wifi that provides internet access from a 5G wireless network. One way this works is through fixed wireless access, which is a base station that wirelessly connects directly to an end user’s location, specifically to a fixed wireless terminal on the premises.
Limited 5G reach is preventing technology from replacing cable broadband. 5G network is present in certain large cities only. A large part of our world continues to depend on cable connections for internet and data transfer. However, if 5G infrastructure reaches enough people, then the situation will most likely change.
5G providers can enlarge the network by installing more transmitters inter-connected with a fiber network. Each transmitter can cover many homes. Rolling out new technology is a costly endeavor that is still a few years away from manifesting. Moreover, a trickier obstacle to rolling out a complete, nationwide 5G network is the political opposition from people worried that the technology might harm their health. There’s no evidence of any health effects from 5G, but convincing everyone that the technology is safe could prove to be a challenge.
Most devices that support 4G technologies (especially mobile devices) are not compatible with 5G networks. Therefore, if you want to access the speed and benefits of 5G communication, you will require a 5G compatible phone. These mobile devices come with much higher processing power and large memory capacity to deliver the speed of the 5G network. 5G adoption will be slowed until the majority of the users have upgraded their devices.
Affordability is an important factor in comparing any two communication services, and its relevance is no less in the 5G vs. broadband debate. 5G data costs are significantly higher than broadband rates. On the other hand, broadband is one of the most affordable high-speed internet services available today.
It is also important to note that although 5G theoretically supports up to 10 Gbps, its affordable data rate can be as low as 200 Mbps. While this would still support typical internet use, it might not suit heavy users who stream or use massive amounts of real-time data.
Even if the services providers can lay down the 5G infrastructure as required, unless the service cost comes down to the level of broadband, there is no significant threat to the latter’s existence.
5G mobile networks can still face disruptions and issues concerning the delivery of reliable services. Providers may not guarantee a reliable service for customers because their signals can be affected by several factors such as distance from the transmitter, obstacles, and interference from other devices. Even trees could potentially block 5G signals.
Broadband speeds may be slow, but it is more reliable and easier to implement.
While all the carriers are already starting to tout their 5G capabilities, it will be a few years before we can take advantage of it. Different providers are coming up with innovative ways to overcome the 5G challenges. For example, Verizon provides coverage maps of its 5G towers and encourages early adopters to position their 5G antennas indoors and install them themselves. T-mobile has filed for a technology modification that provides a longer range with slightly slower speeds.
Cable broadband is still going to be around for the next decade. We will have to wait and see how 5G progresses before claiming that it will replace broadband. Get in touch with our expert telecom consultants at CarrierBid technologies to identify long-term and sustainable solutions for your networking needs.