Confession: When I first started in this industry, I had no idea that my WiFi network was connected by cables. I’m not sure how I thought all that data travelled back and forth: Invisible magic laser beams? Alien sound waves? On the backs of dust motes? Truth be told, I had never given it a single second of thought. It all just kind of, well, worked (most of the time).
Fast forward three years, and I’ve almost wrapped my head around wireless technology and how it’s deployed. Emphasis on the almost.
However, in keeping with the breakneck pace of change in our industry, just as I’ve just about figured one thing out, there are new Wi-Fi developments underway and a new player in the mix – 5G.
5G is making a lot of waves in the trade pubs. Intel has been marketing their 5G solution heavily, using the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang as their testing ground. (Although some thought leaders are suggesting that Intel’s claims are all smoke and mirrors, and the technology isn’t nearly as far along as Intel says it is.)
Regardless of these arguments, 5G being heralded as the next great technology, with a potential impact large enough to bring about a new industrial age. 5G is poised to have a significant influence on how we’ll communicate, travel, purchase, and manufacture things.
But wait, get this…This latest generation of wireless grabbing headlines is based in cellular technologies.
Say what?! It’s like they’re trying to confuse me on purpose.
I think PC Magazine explained it best: “Like other cellular networks, 5G networks use a system of cell sites that divide their territory into sectors and send encoded data through radio waves. Each cell site must be connected to a network backbone, whether through a wired or wireless backhaul connection.”
Some big claims have been made about 5G. It brings the promise is greater speeds (to transmit more data), lower latency (to be more responsive), and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once (like sensors and smart devices). Some say it’s the only form of wireless we’ll need.
But 5G also brings with it quite a few unanswered questions and some uncertainty about the feasibility of its deployment. Will it replace Wi-Fi? If so, how? And who’s going to pay for it?
Register for our next webinar on March 21st to learn how 5G technology will fit in with the other wireless developments on the horizon. Register now.