In the last few years, wide-scale deployment of the 5G connection has been ongoing. The pandemic notably accelerated implementation as the need for technology and the demand for a faster global connection increased. However, even though a high-speed, accessible mobile network promises amazing opportunities for various businesses, 5G challenges shouldn’t be overlooked.
So, what is 5G exactly, and what are the most significant obstacles the 5th generation mobile technology has to deal with?
5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology. It is a new global standard of wireless networks, distinguished by increased speed and responsiveness.
5G is so fast it can connect 100 times more devices per square kilometer and transfer 100 times more data than its predecessor, 4G. It has ultra-low latency and superior reliability. Consequently, it allows individuals to gain rapid access to more information.
Moreover, it can enable companies to digitize their services and tremendously improve efficiency in a wide range of businesses, such as manufacturing, transport, healthcare, agriculture and other industries.
5G is a sure promise of a digital transformation, which should hugely impact the world’s economy. But before it truly connects everything, it has to overcome some challenges. The top three challenges that 5G deals with in 2022 pertain to the proximity of towers, security issues and the coverage of remote areas.
5G tower locations
Even though a 5G signal can carry more data, its coverage is limited. One must be close to its infrastructure to get the best 5G connection. That is because 5G uses extremely high-frequency bands called millimeter wavelengths. They are shorter than those transmitted by previous cellular generations and thus don’t travel as far.
It is possible for 5G wavelengths to be blocked by physical barriers, including buildings, glass or foliage. To solve this, carriers are building massive networks of towers and transmitters.
Furthermore, beamforming is employed to improve the signal in creating more effective use of antenna arrays. Beamforming is a signal processing technique for mobile stations that overcomes obstacles while transmitting data. It identifies the most efficient route for reaching a user and sends more focused signals to a receiving device.
However, even though the most significant number of 5G towers is located in urbanized areas, the network coverage is still limited. Moreover, since 5G networks can operate at various frequencies, different types of antennas are required.
Since 5G technology is comparatively new and evolving, security is a big concern for both mobile carriers and businesses. With a wave of new devices and connections, 5G can increase the risk of advanced malware, privacy violations and faster data extraction.
5G is closely related to the Internet of Things, a market that is developing so fast that the assurance of security cannot catch up. Therefore, the more devices are interconnected, the greater the threat of a cyber attack is.
Without a doubt, 5G can improve the expansion of networks. However, that means that businesses that build services with 5G have more traffic to manage, leading to decreased network visibility. Using security solutions meant for immense information flows becomes of utmost importance.
5G security measures include using next-generation firewalls, secure web gateways, cybersecurity proposals and other solutions that would enable companies to identify various threats and abnormalities within the network on time.
Since remote locations do not have 5G towers, the abilities of businesses to expand in such areas are limited. 5G coverage in the cities is ongoing, but covering rural and remote areas requires significant investment. Such regions often have remarkably lower populations compared to urban ones; therefore, they are less profitable. Besides, since the signal of a 5G tower reaches only up to 0.5km, it requires countless cell towers to cover any distant area.
There are a couple of ways in which this challenge could be overcome. The first is aimed at investors who see the potential revenue in particular geographical areas and, thus, are willing to finance 5G infrastructure development.
The second 5G deployment possibility for remote locations relates to adapted transmission: Instead of extremely high frequencies, 5G operates in long-range, low-bandwidth frequencies. Such signals can travel up to 5 km and need fewer towers.
Ultimately, even if it meant lower data rates, 5G establishment would be highly beneficial for those living in remote locations, especially when it comes to further development in health and education fields.
5G offers massive potential and nearly unlimited interconnectivity. It can provide businesses with innumerous opportunities for digitalization and can aid in creating a more competitive market. Even if the technology is still developing, the advantages of the new generation mobile network can already be felt across the global economy.
Unfortunately, same as with any novelty, there are many challenges that must be overcome until the 5G technology is fully deployed. What do you think about the challenges 5G connectivity faces? Would you add something else to the list.