How many times in the past few months have you cursed your internet connection as a video call froze or an important download inched along? These are daily struggles for remote workers, but also common among offices with business-grade internet. Fifth-generation mobile data connections (colloquially referred to as 5G internet) will ensure your team is more productive and profitable than ever before.
What is 5G Internet?
5G isn’t a single technology as much as a collection of technologies that require new hardware and software standards for mobile connections. Cell towers, transmission frequencies, and other highly technical infrastructure standards will be updated across the world to deliver mobile internet up to 100 times faster than existing 4G networks.
At the consumer level, not much will change. Only certain phones and cellular plans will be 5G-ready, and people who purchase new phones every couple of years will simply experience significantly faster mobile internet the next time they upgrade.
For businesses with 15 or more employees, however, the changes will be huge.
How Will 5G Affect my Small Business?
Simply put, every internet-connected device and employee you manage will be capable of way more productivity than they are today. The changes will be so extreme that it’ll feel like the Wild West as individuals and companies rush to push the boundaries of this new technology.
Across every industry, thought leaders will make huge sums of money as 5G pioneers.
Trying to guess what their ideas will be would be like trying to predict Facebook’s release before Zuckerberg was accepted to Harvard. But here are some things we can say with confidence:
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be everywhere – 5G has the capacity for 10 times as many connections per square mile as 4G. It’ll be dirt cheap to have sensors outside of Wi-Fi range transmitting valuable information back to your office.
- Work won’t be tied to specific locations – 2020 will go down in history as the great work from home experiment. 5G will take that even further by delivering internet fast enough to join 4K-resolution video conferences from a park bench. Some experts believe it will even be fast enough to stream virtual reality meetings.
- There will be a new cybersecurity arms race – With blazing-fast 5G, employees will never need to connect to another dangerous coffee shop Wi-Fi network. Plus, network virtualization will make private and protected connections much cheaper to maintain. These advances will push cybercriminals to seek out new frontiers for their endeavors.
- Devices’ batteries will last longer…eventually – A smartphone battery on a 5G-only connection will last longer than one on a 4G-only connection. Unfortunately, the early days will be filled with lots of switching back and forth between the two networks, which will quickly drain the battery life.
- Remote IT support will be as fast as on-site support – Our technicians will be able to safely and remotely control your company’s computers from anywhere with virtually zero time delay. If a tech is leaving an on-site visit (these will never be completely eliminated) and receives a simple request from your team, that tech could connect to your network and resolve the issue from the parking lot!
These dramatic developments will create new industries and products to take full advantage of 5G. Imagine a real estate agent doing a home walk-through with prospective buyers via a 4K resolution video call.
The connection would be so fast that the realtor could let prospective homebuyers superimpose their own furniture over the video in real time from the comfort of their own home.
The benefits go beyond better customer experiences. For jobs where in-person appointments can be replaced by reliable high-definition mobile calls, profits will increase substantially because it becomes easier to deliver services to more customers. The sooner you offer these types of improvements, the better your return on investment.
When Will 5G Be Available in My City?
If you have a 5G compatible phone, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile provide coverage in 136 US cities. Since we are still in the early stages of this technology, there are some special considerations.
For example, AT&T claims that their 5G connections will eventually reach 1,500 megabits per second (Mbps), but current connections average 400 Mbps (which is still 10 times faster than AT&T’s 38 Mbps average on 4G).
Keep in mind that the coverage in your city may not be universal. You might have a great connection downtown, while only getting 4G speeds out at the golf course.
Lastly, 5G broadband is a long way from implementation. If you’re on a desktop or laptop computer, it’s unlikely your connection will change within the next 1–2 years.
How Can I Prepare my Small Business for 5G?
The first and most important step is to consider how much 5G investments will be worth to your company. They’ll likely be too expensive to pay for themselves if you’re running a low-tech brick-and-mortar business. High-tech industries like manufacturing and healthcare, on the other hand, can’t afford to ignore 5G.
An IT Services Consultation will analyze your network’s performance and identify opportunities for improvement. If we agree that significantly faster internet will lead to increased profits, here are some concrete steps you can take to pave the way for 5G implementation:
- Set aside money in the budget for future hardware and internet service plans, which will be more expensive than what you have today.
- Delay purchases of new mobile devices until more of them are built for 5G.
- Tell your employees about your plan to prioritize 5G and ask for their suggestions on how to utilize it.
- Invest in office-based automation and IoT devices now so you’ll be more experienced than competitors when widespread 5G makes those technologies feasible off-premises.
This isn’t the time to wait and see. Let Iconic IT help you decide if upgrading to 5G sooner rather than later will be in your small to medium-sized business’ best interest.