The “OG” of wireless networks.
When less is more and the truth about 5G.
It’s supposed to be a game changer.
It’s supposed to revolutionize your life as soon as you get that new 5G phone.
But the truth is, 5G won’t change your life dramatically by boosting your digital experience with incredible speed and coverage – yet. 4G has already done that. The game is not changing (all that much).
5G is more of a sexy marketing term to get your attention. “The race” to 5G is really just a myth – more of a marathon than a sprint and will take years to build, as networks are upgraded and phones go through a number of new generations.
New millimeter wave rolled out by Verizon and AT&T do offer souped-up speeds but walls, pesky double paned glass and those dang trees tend to get in the way greatly hindering the distance those signals can travel. Not only that, in-building connection is much weaker and less reliable than 4G which means 5G performance is greatly reduced inside a building as well.
But mobile operators are deploying what is called minimal 5G upgrade anyway. This was not the OG vision. It means spotty outdoor coverage and unreliable indoor coverage. I wouldn’t call that game changing.
Right now, 5G networks need 4G like cars need roads. All those texts, calls, social media apps, data transmission, cloud services and servers need good old-fashioned cable to communicate. Wireless isn’t really wireless. As a result, carriers are not rolling out 5G as a standalone technology as in other countries but are rather building on 4GLTE. The cost of building out a standalone 5G network would be astronomical due to the network densification required and the increase in functionality demands.
All of which means 5G is a big bluff. It originally promised an internet of things and services we’ve never even dreamed of. But 5G and 4G are in a very long–term relationship.
As private LTE networks become available, having IoT devices that run on an LTE quality network priced like Wi-Fi is becoming a reality. 5G does not play much of a role in that. DAS and CBRS (Private LTE) can already accomplish many of the same things 5G has promised but at a much lower cost while still offering a 5G highway when the time comes.
The truth is consumers don’t really need or want much faster phones, they want secure and reliable coverage. Autonomous vehicles don’t need lower latency networks then they already have and customers don’t want exponentially higher costs. 5G is giving 4G an undeserved bad name but people are getting wise to the con. That new 5G phone coming down the road will pretty much do the same thing as your 4G devices.