5G technology may not be widespread yet, but almost a quarter of Australian businesses intend to adopt it in the next 18 months and almost 80% in the next three years, according to Samsung.

As with all new technological developments of this scale, it is important for businesses to be proactive and prepared in order to stay ahead of the competition. In this article, we look at the expected impact of 5G and the opportunities it presents for Australian businesses.

What is 5G?

5G is the 5th generation of mobile networks. Here’s a quick history:

  • 1G: The first generation network appeared in Australia in 1987. Being analogue, sounds were propelled over radio waves unencrypted and all conversations could be listened to.
  • 2G: 2G brought Australia’s first digital network in 1993, making it possible to encrypt calls.
  • 3G: 3G introduced internet browsing with a smartphone in 2003.
  • 4G: Launched in 2011, 4G made video streaming possible and apps requiring high speed connectivity.

In development since 2012, 5G is now finally rolling out around Australia starting in and around metropolitan areas. Telstra has created a 5G coverage map to help you determine network availability for your business, and Telstra’s already offering 5G-ready devices and plans.

How Does 5G Work?

5G technology takes full advantage of the radio spectrum to help numerous devices access mobile internet simultaneously. It uses higher frequency waves with shorter wavelengths to help more users access the same wireless network.

The higher-frequency radio bands exploited by 5G (3.5GHz to 26GHz) have more capacity, but to use 5G, carriers need to provide a higher number of cell transmitters and receivers closer to buildings. That’s why 5G may not be spreading as fast as businesses want it to.

Advantages of 5G for Business

Below are some of the key advantages businesses can expect in moving to 5G.

1. Speed and Productivity

5G is much faster than 4G. Theoretically, it could achieve speeds around 100x faster than 4G, but realistically we expect speeds around 10x faster in general usage.

The most important element of the 5G speed however is that it provides a 5x increase in bandwidth per channel, meaning you can deliver much more information through a single connection, with experts predicting fibre-like performance dubbed ‘fibre to the phone’. Businesses can therefore expect to work more quickly and efficiently, increasing productivity.

2. Capacity and Scale

As the 5G network is designed for greater capacity, it can cope with many high-demand devices at once – one million devices per square kilometre to be exact, which is 10 times more than 4G. This will give business networks more bandwidth to run multiple applications, devices and software simultaneously, at greater scale.

3. Better Communications

Remote working is becoming highly popular world-wide. According to McCrindle, 86% of Australian workers are ready to stay longer with an existing employer if remote working’s an option, but remote working requires a fast, reliable connection.

With 5G improving connection speeds and lowering latency, audio and video communications will be higher quality and more reliable, Unified Communications (UC) will perform better, and video conferencing technologies will be able to turn remote meetings into real-life experiences.

4. Network Flexibility

A new and more technical capability of 5G is network slicing, which means that multiple dedicated networks can be operated independently on the one platform or physical infrastructure. For business, it gives you the ability to run 5G-based virtual networks specifically tailored to your unique requirements.

Getting the Most out of 5G for Your Business

Businesses should consult their trusted technology experts for advice specific to their circumstances, but in general these are some of the aspects we consider in 5G implementations.

1. Focus on Security

The factors that make 5G so beneficial also create new cybersecurity risks. Businesses need tight security protocols that are effective and appropriate for the adoption of 5G.

2. Rethink Data Analytics

As connection speeds increase, so does the amount of data across the network. The right tools are needed to analyse and understand the increased traffic and to continually minimise costs.

3. Be Strategic

5G is shaping as the next big technology, with the capacity to change how some business tasks are approached entirely. It’s important to plan for the full technical capabilities of 5G and to understand where it might be most impactful for your business now and as the technology is taken up.

Can We Help?

5G is bound to affect the way you do business, with far better connection speeds, greater technical capability and flexibility, and enhanced communications and remote working opportunities as the technology rolls out. To prepare your business for 5G now or in future, contact Forsythes Technology.