5G has landed

5G Wifi Technology Is Almost Here

However daunting your data challenge is now, 5G technology means it’s about to get a whole lot bigger. More data, more speed, more reliability. Better use of other new and emerging technologies – from IoT to the cloud, from AR to VR – and significant improvements in mobile productivity. Perhaps that’s why more than 50% of businesses are already looking to invest. Preparation is vital however, writes Gareth Kershaw…

Ever seen the Eagle has Landed? Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland and crew trying to kidnap Winston Churchill and spirit him off to Berlin? No?  

Doesn’t matter. There’s just this bit that puts me in mind of the impending roll-out and adoption of 5G mobile connectivity technology. (Seriously).

Duvall’s character, Colonel Radl, is trying to convince Sutherland’s exiled Irish dissident and arch covert operative, Liam Devlin, to leave his post with Berlin University and join a ‘little holiday to England’. A man of your ability lecturing students, remarks Radl, would seem to be like a thoroughbred racehorse finding himself pulling a milk-cart.

And? Well it’s a position similar to that in which many businesses will likely find themselves when 5G arrives. Virtually limitless ‘horsepower’ pulling comparatively clunky, aging infrastructure and hardware.

More on that shortly. In the meantime suffice to say that 5G is going to make a big impact. Huge.

It will offer faster, more reliable connectivity for smartphones and other mobile devices than ever before. Much faster and more reliable in fact, with average download speeds of around 1GBps soon likely.

By 2023, there’ll be 5G coverage for more than 20% of the global population and a billion plus 5G subscriptions, according to recent research from Ericsson.

Fuelled in the main by video content, mobile data traffic will surge by eight times between 2017 and 2023, noted to the report, reaching a massive 110 exabytes per month. (That’s the equivalent of about 5.5 million years of video streaming, if you’re fond of yardsticks.)

IoT (Internet of Things) driven projects should benefit too. There are already something approaching a billion IoT devices with cellular connections and this number was projected to reach at least 1.8 billion by 2023.

Enormous global economic implications could result, with 5G set to deliver more than $12trillion in revenues and support 22million jobs worldwide by 2035, say Ericsson. All driven by the digitization of industries like transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing.

Key here, however, is that all this set to take place not at some indeterminate point in the future, but imminently; the first commercial 5G networks are expected to go live later this year.

In other words, the time for businesses to start preparing is now. And there are at least five key change-areas they ought to be keeping their eyes on from the outset.

1. Business and IT

5G network bandwidths and speeds will dwarf those of today, with a potentially massive impact on areas such as data download, IoT, video conferencing, and real-time marketing. Perhaps most of all in mobile computing, where the shift in focus towards supremely versatile and flexible but robust device form factors (Lenovo’s own X1 Yoga for example) should gain even greater momentum.

2. Network and infrastructure

Existing infrastructures should be audited. What hardware, software, management, and service changes might be needed to pave the way for 5G? Consider building out a budget plan phasing in upgrades roughly in line with 5G’s multi-year trajectory.

3. Data

If you think the enterprise data mountain is massive now, the arrival of 5G will take it to whole new heights. 90ZB (90 billion terabytes) by 2025 per the projections of one IDC / Seagate report.

4. Technologies and processes

The massive bandwidth and data transfer capabilities of 5G could reshape entire business processes; accelerating the move into the cloud, driving the adoption of tools such as in Augmented Reality (AR), and affecting massive change in areas like application deployment, support, governance and…

5. … Security

More data and devices inevitably means more potential security threats. Particularly with 5G, and therefore the threat vectors that are sure to accompany it, still evolving.

When it comes to 5G then, the key lesson seems to be it’s coming, get ready. But to do so with your eyes open and your savvy dialled up to ten.

To quote a certain Mr Devlin: “I realised fear one morning, in the blare of the fox hunters’ sound. When they’re all chasing after the poor b****y fox, it’s safer to be dressed like the hound.”

Learn more about the Lenovo X1 Yoga and its fit for 5G here>>

Gareth Kershaw - Author

Gareth Kershaw

Cutting his editorial teeth in the still callow IT press of the mid 1990s, Gareth Kershaw is a specialist technology and business writer of more than 20 years’ experience.

Spanning roles from journalist to editorial director and virtually everything in between, his career has encompassed regular contributions to a wide range of technology media titles – including Computing, Computer Reseller News, Channel Business, and Microscope – as well as the national press.

While his two decades in technology have seen extraordinary transformation and change from one end of the industry to the other, his philosophy tends to remain one of “plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose”.