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What is 5G and Are You Ready for It?

Jim Smid, Chief Technology Officer, Iron Bow Technologies

August 11, 2020  |  IT Modernization  •  Mobility + End User Devices


With technology evolving and improving at a faster rate than ever before, it’s understandably difficult to feel like you’re keeping up with the latest and greatest. As someone who has made a career out of keeping an eye out for new technology coming to market, I’ll share the secret with you now: 5G is a game changer (and you won’t want to miss out). Here’s some background on what 5G is and how it will help you optimize your wireless work across the spectrum of your devices. You can use this information to ask yourself if your technology infrastructure is ready to capitalize on the benefits 5G is offering you (if it’s not ready, don’t worry, we’ll cover that, too).

What is 5G?

By this point in time, it’s probably safe to say that most of us have a cell phone and therefore utilize some sort of cellular network on a daily basis.  Cell phones, and all other wireless devices, operate on cellular networks that come to market in different versions, known as generations.  So far, we’ve seen 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G where the G means “generation.” 5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It is a new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G networks. 5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects and devices. (And for clarification, there is the cellular 5G network and then there’s home wireless which can come as a 5 gigahertz Wi-Fi router. These are different. We’re talking about 5G cellular wireless.)

For an analogy, imagine driving your car to get from your home to your office.  The cellular network is like the roads you drive on in order to get from point A to point B.  With 5G, it’s like someone took your two lane, back road and widened it to a five lane highway and doubled the speed limit.  Suddenly, you are able to get to where you need to be faster and more cars (data) are able to travel on the same highway at the same time.  This results in more data being transmitted in a faster way.

How is it different?

As with most improved technology today, 5G is an enhanced version of the generations that came before it. 5G wireless technology will provide faster data speeds, more reliability and allow you to transmit higher amounts of data from one point to another across networks. 5G is designed to not only deliver faster, better mobile services compared to the previous 4G network, but it can also expand into new service areas such as mission-critical communications and connecting the massive Internet of Things (IoT). In comparison to 4G LTE, I’d say 5G is about 20 times faster.

What can 5G do for me?

5G allows your data to be transmitted in the fastest way we have ever experienced.  Not only does it allow for speedier transmission, but it widens the highway to allow more data to be transmitted at a time. This has a huge potential to agency or organization business goals and also to critical military missions.

From a military standpoint, having devices that can operate at the edge and give you quick, real-time information is great, but if you can also exchange data with your data center twenty times faster than you could previously, you can imagine the differences it makes: soldiers can make data-based decisions in half the time, they can move forward with ops with more confidence and it opens communication between the field and home base so that every person involved is more updated and safer, having eyes and ears from all sides.

From a business perspective, if I can use 5G and make my data transmits faster, my downloads bigger and my connectivity better, I not only can improve my business operations but go above and beyond that to things like enabling IoT, having more devices in use and getting the data in a timelier manner so I can act on it and make improvements for my organization. This became especially important after COVID-19 hit and everyone made a shift to working from home.  Having a 5G network to operate within, could make work easier, faster and more reliable for all our employees, vendors and partners.

5G isn’t just for work place efficiency, either.  It will affect everything we do in our personal lives, as well. Think about downloading a movie to watch later on the plane. While it used to take 15 minutes, you can do it in seconds a 5G network. The amount of data that can be transferred is incredible. You just have to make sure if you’re going to use a 5G network, your point A and point B can handle the increased capabilities and not contribute to data bottlenecks.

Am I ready?

When I think about 5G, I think about performance and performance to me comes down to data bottlenecks. If the IP network isn’t able to keep up with the new data sources, it will be impossible to get the most out of adding 5G.  Like the car analogy, having a five lane highway won’t do you any good if you on ramps and off ramps can’t handle the capacity. You need to able to ensure that where your data is going has the ability to take in such an enormous amount of data in a short amount of time. How do you process that? Where do you put it?

Every organization operates differently and has unique ecosystems. Fortunately, Iron Bow has decades of expertise in data centers, networks, computing and storage.  We didn’t build 5G, but we can help our clients decipher what they need in order to adopt 5G efficiently and make sure it’s optimized to their specific business goals. We offer consultations to support clients’ digital transitions and also have help desk support for post implementation so the client knows what changes were made and how to optimize their technology within these new parameters. If you’re not sure if your organization is ready to handle 5G, just give us a call and we’ll find the answers with you. And, if you need help developing a roadmap from point A to point B, we can help with that, too. What we don’t want is you to miss out on the benefits that 5G can offer you. It’s too valuable to sit this one out.

For more information on networking, data centers or managed services, simply click the appropriate links to visit our website.


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