What is 5G?
5G technology is the new generation of mobile Internet connections, which may leverage many opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses. A notable advantage of 5G is the connection speed, which runs even faster than fibre-optic Internet. For businesses that rely on the Internet to operate, 5G can help with essential processes, such as communication between staff and clients and the management of cloud environments. 5G can also help in the collection and analysis of Big Data and the use of business intelligence (BI) tools.
Currently, 4G connections —the most common on mobile networks— are falling short. This is due to a number of reasons, such as an increase in the use of new technologies, cloud storage, large files, and video use on the Internet. Evidence of this has been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic as overloaded mobile Internet connections are apparent. This has led to an increase in waiting times to access even the simplest services, such as sending messages or loading a web page.
5G may solve all of these problems. Each device connected to the mobile network will enjoy speeds of up to 20Gb per second. This is between 10 and 20 times faster than the speed offered by current 4G connections.
The 5G revolution
The arrival of 5G brings significant improvements in the field of communication, both in a personal and professional setting.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and adapting to lockdowns, many companies now have more remote workers and more cloud services. This means there is a demand for a much larger capacity of Internet connections than ever before. The deployment of 5G will support this increase in demand and change the way people communicate. It allows for more devices to connect to the Internet so that they can send and receive data in real-time.
5G devices will not lose connection quality due to network saturation, which is currently an issue with 3G or 4G. With 5G, each device will connect exclusively as if it were a single cable and without the need to share a connection with anyone else. Most importantly, this increases the security of data transmission.
Another advantage of 5G is that it reduces latency time, which is the time it takes for the network to respond to a request. This is reduced to three milliseconds (on average), which is something that will go almost unnoticed by the user.
How 5G will impact business
The implementation of 5G will introduce changes for both businesses and end consumers.
For personal use, there will be a faster and more stable connection. Users can download files and upload streaming movies in a matter of milliseconds. Social viewing will enable multiple people to watch the same film or TV show together even though they are not in the same location.
The use of 5G means that an internal memory card or the computer capacity won’t need to expand. Users will be able to store and access their files in the cloud instantly, even if they are very large.
5G will also facilitate the advancement of the internet of things (IoT), where everyday objects, such as the fridge, home thermostat, or even cars, will connect to the Internet. Users will be able to control them remotely in real-time without any interruption.
It was predicted that by 2020 there would be more than 20 billion Internet-connected devices in the world. This has come to fruition and continues to grow throughout 2021. This may, in part, be due to the circumstances that have arisen during the global pandemic. 5G, therefore, will undoubtedly play a key role in facilitating access and guaranteeing data traffic for all devices connected to the Internet.
5G in use
The benefits of 5G go beyond simply being able to connect devices to the Internet. It will make it possible for doctors to perform remote surgery, for farmers to remotely monitor animal health and soil moisture and for access to remotely controlled self-driving cars.
5G technology in B2B (Business to Business) will also provide improvements in business relationships and processes. This can help logistics systems to track shipments in real-time or intelligent warehouse software to self-manage orders.
5G will also boost the growth of technology companies, which will see a demand for more cloud-based or Internet-connected services and products. This is particularly necessary during the age of remote working.
Advantages of 5G and small business opportunities
SMEs with 5G will be able to implement services and technologies that were previously only available to large organisations with high purchasing power.
5G will enable better automation of processes and greater optimisation of resources for companies. High-speed 5G networks will allow people to transmit and download large amounts of data easily. This will facilitate remote working, which saves on maintenance and travel costs for staff.
Another advantage of 5G for SMEs is that it will enable wider use of cloud services. This will mean that companies will not have to buy and maintain on-site servers. It will not be necessary to maintain a physically wired network with cables for work computers to connect to high-speed internet.
The entry of 5G into the enterprise environment will also allow the potential of Artificial Intelligence software to be better harnessed, whether for internal or external purposes. In marketing, for example, it will be possible to analyse customer behaviour optimally thanks to faster and more secure connections. Another example is machine-learning tools that collect information and learn to improve business processes or automatically solve unexpected problems.
5G in Australia
The role out of 5G in Australia is making huge progress. As of June 2021, network provider Telstra announced that it has already hit 75% of the population with 5G coverage. Vodafone has also announced that it plans to cover 85% of Australia’s most populated cities by the end of 2021 and Optus has already covered 400,000 households across the country.
The government has set up the Australian 5G Innovation Initiative, which aims to provide grants to support small to large businesses who test and develop 5G uses, including IoTs. This will help smaller businesses transition into the digital economy and provide them with greater access to their marketplace.
With a faster network, small businesses may become more reliable. 5G means lower latency, higher capacity and more devices being able to connect to the Internet at the same time. With endless connectivity, 5G may improve customer experience, meaning it could be an invaluable tool with a competitive advantage.