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Everything you need to know about 5G

Everything you need to know about 5G

Over the past two decades, the growth in mobile technology has seen a huge uplift in the use of handheld devices to complete more tasks in our day-to-day lives and allowed businesses to become more efficient. When considered alongside the power of mobile data, users have been provided with connectivity like never before, particularly for those working from home – a more recent sign of the times – or for those seeking alternatives to poor fixed broadband solutions.

3G was one of the earliest technologies that ushered in this new age of digital capability through the advent of smartphones, soon followed by 4G, which transformed the mobile communications landscape with more reliable video calling. 5G is the newest generation of technology standard for broadband cellular networks, offering even more capacity for mobile data speeds. But what does this mean for businesses as potential – and no doubt eventual – users of the UK’s newest mobile data technology?

How fast is 5G?

First up is the notable difference in speed between 5G and the previous generations of wireless technology standards. Across the UK’s networks, users can expect 5G download speeds of anywhere between 100Mbps – 700Mbps, although these figures will vary from network to network and place to place. Recent speed tests by Point Topic claim that as of September 2020, the average 5G download speed across the UK’s networks was 148Mbps on average.

Stacking this up against 4G, users can expect 5G speeds anywhere between four to six times faster, although in some areas, the increase is likely to be much larger and likely to increase further as the 5G network grows.

As a consequence of the increase in speed, another capability of the 5G network is its ability to reduce latency times – or, more simply, the time taken between instructing your mobile to perform an action and that action being undertaken. Gamers are amongst those that will have their interest peaked by this, as it potentially sees an end to the dreaded input delay once and for all.

How will 5G affect business?

One thing for sure with 5G, is that like all technologies, it will likely precede unpredictable changes in the way that technology is utilised. The conversation of virtual and augmented reality is never too far away when discussing technology, and whilst both have long been bandied about as buzz words in the digital industry, the release of 5G has the potential to make these more of a reality, allowing for more immersive brand experiences across a number of business sectors and verticals.

Take the example of one local council that has installed 5G nodes on lamp posts to create a mobile network between patients in social care and their families, keeping them connected via virtual reality alongside enabling biomonitors to detect whether patients are dehydrated. It’s also being used to connect video systems that allow pharmacists to remotely check whether patients are taking their medication.

Across the B2B sectors, the impact of 5G is also being capitalised on, particularly within the logistical industries, with many now researching drone technology to coordinate deliveries, to agriculture which has a growing reliance on automated machinery that improves both worker safety and yield efficiency.

How safe is 5G?

A conversation that has picked up pace amongst many communities is the supposed health implications of 5G, and 5G masts in particular. It’s worth checking in on the Public Health England (PHE) website, which leads on health matters related to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, whose view is that ‘the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health’.

Ofcom has also waded into this discussion by measuring the electromagnetic field emissions from equipment used to transmit mobile signals and other wireless services across various 5G sites in towns and cities across the UK. At every site, emissions were a small fraction of the levels included in the international guidelines, as set by the International Commission, or Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

Who is the best 5G service provider?

The earliest adopter of 5G in the UK was EE, whose extensive coverage provides an attractive proposition to consumers and businesses looking for reliability and larger data packages. Vodafone and O2 continue to grow their 5G Spectrum and offer genuinely viable alternatives. It would be misleading of us to state a preferred supplier across the UK as coverage plays such a crucial role in the suitability of a network for your business. Associated Telecom can supply 5G solutions on a number of networks, and once we’ve discussed your requirements and understood your business, we will be happy to recommend the most suitable provider for your needs.

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