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5G technology – the journey so far

It does not come as a surprise that Singapore is highly keen on rolling out 5G technology across its various services and industries. It has invested in the conducting of free trials and collaborations are seen between agencies, for the research and implementation of 5G technology.

But there is a bigger question: Is 5G technology as good as it is said to be?

OpenGov explores the breakdown of this topic with the help of various expert opinions.

What is 5G?

5G network is a more advanced form of technology as compared to the 4G network. It is ahead of 4G technology, in terms of providing faster data speeds and quality connections.

It also provides high-throughout and low latency. These features make it ideal for use in developments of 3D robotic control, virtual reality monitoring and remote medical control.

Data speeds have increased tenfold, from 10 to 100 times faster. Latency is reduced by 20 to 40 times less.

What 5G technology gives its consumers is the ability to download content, such as an ultra high-definition (HD) movie, within seconds.

There is a projected idea of people watching a movie while an autonomous car powered by 5G technology drives them around. Offices will soon be fully autonomous and will employ the use of robotics.

4G technology is at its optimal performance. It is not able to take in more data and not able to perform any faster.

5G employs the use of massive Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) technology which allows for data to be transmitted at higher speeds of 1.5 to 5.0 faster.

5G tech creators will have to work on finding solutions to overcome these challenges and gradually push 5G tech adoption among consumers and enterprises.

Challenges

  1. Short 5G highways

Though the 5G network is wide and being able to hold multiple data, it is too short.

With an increase in bandwidth, the network also faces less coverage.

Telecom operators will need to add many network support structures, such as base stations, to increase the length of networks and for the network to further spread out.

  1. Cost

With the need to increase the number of base stations, there is an increased cost faced in having to support the technology.

Base stations might become more expensive as well, at 20 to 30 per cent more.

To support the 5G network, 4.0 to 5.0 times more base stations are needed.

There will be a need to invest in producing better radio interfaces and antennas to increase the efficiency of the spectrum of the network.

5G networks also consume three times more power than 4G networks.

  1. Latency

While 5G strives to achieve lower latency, there is still a lot of work to be done. Autonomous cars are expected to extensively use 5G technology.

The ideal latency level for autonomous cars to perform optimally is 1 to 2 milliseconds. However, they are currently only at less than 30 milliseconds.

  1. Consumers

With 5G technology evidently requiring more investments into furnishing it, it will relay into the market prices, where customers will have to bear big weights.

The consumer mindset is to enjoy maximum benefits at the lowest costs.

Unless the technology can provide more benefits to customers or reduce costs in other aspects of it, consumers may not be willing to make the switch.

However, a higher potential for adoption may be seen among businesses, if the technology provides them with opportunities for reaping profits.

The future of 5G

The biggest challenge of all is the promise of deliverance. Mobile network providers have hyped up the capabilities of 5G technology, when in fact there is work to be done.

There currently are 4.5G technologies which provide speeds which are more than enough for today’s use.

4.5G technologies are used as a channel for understanding the technical challenges at hand in the implementation of 5G technology.

It will be tough for enterprises to engage in massive adoption of the technology, with the above-mentioned challenges posing as key ones to them.

As such, the question remains if 5G technology can deliver what it promises.

5G tech creators will have to work on finding solutions to overcome these challenges and gradually push 5G tech adoption among consumers and enterprises.

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