What Can 5G Really Do?

Almost every country now has a plan for 5G rollout. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the benefits of a networked society. So the question arises: What if 5G was already widely introduced and functional?

Almost every country now has a plan for 5G rollout. Covid-19 and the resulting pandemic clearly highlighted the numerous advantages of a networked society: essential processes and relationships could be maintained and the necessary social distance was guaranteed through digital collaboration. This applied not only to our working environment, but also to the economy and our private lives. So the question arises: what if 5G was already in place and operational?

1. How does 5G help maintain and improve our ability to work?

5G will have a significant impact on many key areas of our lives – in addition to education, medicine and work, above all on the economy. Larger bandwidths and lower latency times enable real-time transmission of large amounts of data. 5G therefore has the potential to bring about a new industrial revolution from an economic point of view – Industry 4.0 companies will be able to set up their own private 5G network on their company premises and thus make production with IoT devices (IoT = Internet of Things), robots and sensors in smart factories. This leads to increased productivity, improved processes and reduced time-to-market. These changes affect every part of a company, from production to logistics to supply chain management, because 5G makes it possible to track progress and delivery status in real time, reducing downtime and waiting times. 5G and Industry 4.0 are driving forces for big changes. They promote networking, decentralized decision-making, cognitive computing and much more.

In the course of this change, humans will assume the role of manager, controller and repairer of connected devices. This frees him from fixed workplaces and at the same time enables him to work from home or from a greater distance, while production can continue to run.

2. How would 5G improve communication in our work and life?

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we communicate, both personally and professionally. 5G now goes one step further and enables even closer collaboration without noticeable delays. Virtual lessons, remote medical examinations or operations and the transmission of large amounts of data are no longer wishful thinking. In tough times, the internet makes it possible to stay connected, work from home while maintaining work processes and productivity.

The pandemic we are currently in has shown how quickly our existing communication structures reach their limits when the whole world shifts its activities to the virtual world. 5G would be a solution to ensure a stable, more reliable network connection. Greater bandwidth and higher data transfer rates would make it possible to hold online courses with large numbers of people, run entire factories and companies remotely, or stay connected with family and friends.

In short, 5G would make it possible to stay at home in an emergency and still be able to use our full potential. And all without sacrificing the quality of work or being slowed down by overloaded servers and poor connections. 5G will also affect the way people live. Smart cities connected by 5G offer the opportunity to improve the quality, performance and interaction with urban services, they reduce costs and resource consumption and promote exchange between residents and authorities.

This technology helps creativity flourish and improve quality of life through new medical, educational and personal developments.

3. What new opportunities does 5G offer?

Autonomous vehicles, holograms and remote-controlled operations have long been known from science fiction films. In reality, humanity is not quite there yet, but 5G brings one big step closer to such a scenario. Communication and real-time data transfers with response times of one millisecond and less – these low latency times can only be achieved with 5G networks.

The healthcare system could also benefit greatly from 5G. Hospitals produce huge amounts of sensitive data every day, and technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, AI and machine learning could be used to scan X-rays and other files for diseases. Real-time data transmission and low latency would even enable remote operations, making patient care and hospital capacities more resilient and safer for healthcare workers.

5G will also improve machine-to-machine communication, making smart cities a reality. From managing energy and water supplies to real-time traffic information and smart lighting, 5G can make cities smarter and more sustainable, improving the quality of life for citizens.

With a constantly growing world population, food and water supply will become more important in the coming years. Farming faces the challenge of producing more food while reducing waste and production costs to meet its goals. To do this, she needs the support of everything from sensors, drones and connected devices that provide real-time data on livestock, weather and yields in the field, to intelligent greenhouses that autonomously control irrigation and monitor product quality.

4. What are the risks of widespread use of 5G?

With great promises come great risks. Not only companies, private households and society will benefit from the particularly fast data transmission rates, the extended bandwidth and all other new possibilities that 5G enables. Hackers and cybercriminals will also be among the beneficiaries. According to a study by BPI Network, 94 percent of industry experts expect 5G to significantly increase security challenges. With the use of IoT devices in high-risk areas, for example in surgical robots or automated vehicles, the threats from hackers no longer only affect data, but may also affect health and integrity. 5G will therefore pose a cybersecurity challenge when it comes to ensuring that data is protected. However, the 5G players are already taking this aspect into account and are working in parallel to provide secure connections.

All end devices will be forced to make use of the available Internet infrastructure. This means that the endpoints have to deal with the vulnerabilities and challenges that were not addressed in previous networks. Many countries also fear that some network infrastructure vendors could install a “backdoor” to gain access to critical data. Some countries have already introduced stricter regulations for critical parts of their 5G infrastructure.

5. What will it take to make the promises of 5G a reality?

In order to be able to unleash the full 5G potential, you need an infrastructure that can meet the increased requirements. Unlike other networks in the past, 5G networks don’t need to be built from scratch. Rather, it is about adding new components to an already existing infrastructure. 5G radio waves are very short. The distance between the individual radio masts and antennas must therefore be shortened and the existing network densified. At the heart of 5G infrastructure are fiber optic connections, because no other known transmission medium has the capacities that fiber optics bring, and these capacities are critical to achieving the transmission speeds, low latencies and bandwidths of 5G.

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