5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications. Developed to reduce latency, expand system capacity, provide higher data rates and enable large-scale device connectivity, the technology has been around for roughly four years. But will it ever replace general internet service providers? As it turns out, there is no black-and-white answer.
Explaining the 5G Hype
People around the world create more than 2.5 quintillion data bytes every day. In our increasingly online world, having a fast internet connection has become more than a luxury for many people – it is now a necessity. Thanks to this growing need for reliable service, many experts are placing their bets on 5G replacing standard home internet connections.
One of 5G‘s main advantages is its speed. With eyewatering download rates of up to 20 gigabytes per second (Gbps), 5G connections are lightning fast compared to most home internet connections, which typically offer speeds around 10-25 Mbps in the U.S. With a 5G connection, downloading a movie only takes a few seconds. It’s a great option for playing online games, working from home, streaming HD videos and performing other bandwidth-intensive tasks.
5G also shines when it comes to its low latency. Latency is the amount of time it takes for data to travel from point A to point B, a crucial component of a fast internet connection. With 5G, latency is typically less than five milliseconds, which is much lower than typical home internet speeds.
If 5G home internet catches on, remote workers can say goodbye to freezing up in Zoom meetings. Other real-time applications, such as playing VR games or remotely controlling devices, will also be much easier to perform.
When Will 5G Become Standard?
5G is a brand-new technology that debuted in 2019, and many people are still unaware of what it is or why they should make the switch. As awareness grows and more people work from home than ever before, there will likely be a bigger market for 5G.
Additionally, there needs to be more infrastructure to support 5G‘s universal use. 5G requires specific cell towers and antennas to operate. Building this new infrastructure will be costly and labor-intensive, especially in hard-to-reach rural areas. The building costs might initially make 5G services more expensive than traditional home internet options.
Some remote regions may never adopt 5G technology due to the difficulty of building cell towers on less developed land. People living far from the main grid often reject intensive development, and many are content with slow or even absent internet connections.
Plus, many 5G towers have a pitifully low signal range – at least for now – of about 1,000 feet. Providers would have to build multiple small structures to bring 5G coverage to a whole neighborhood, which would require a lot of maintenance over time.
If 5G home internet ever becomes the norm, urban centers will likely be the first places to benefit, since they already have some 5G towers and antennas in place. The new infrastructure would also blend into the landscape better than it would in rural regions.
The Verdict on 5G Home Internet
5G technology may become standard in urban areas in the near future, but it won’t replace traditional services in more remote regions until the signal range improves. Engineers should focus on developing a solution for the limited coverage issue.
People who only use the internet to check emails or browse social media might be content with their current service. However, 5G internet will play an increasingly important role as more people work from home and use IoT-connected devices. Consequently, 5G internet could someday become the norm, allowing people to use their devices like never before.