Q&A: 5G

Is 5G an actual thing that is useful, or is it more of a marketing gimmick that very few can actually use or has a very little actual benefit?

Much of what you are seeing now is hype, especially some of the marketing being circulated from the US Cellular carriers.

That’s not to say that 5G won’t be useful, especially when it gets to maturity and new applications become enabled. This will probably happen.

For most current networking applications, it’s an incremental improvement rather than a disruptive game changer. For systems we don’t currently have like autonomous vehicles it could be the enabler that we need. (However as I’m still waiting for the flying cars we were promised when I was a kid, so maybe it won’t be).

We would just ignore it for now.


Will the new 5G wireless network allow internet speeds & bandwidth equal to what’s available from hardline providers?

It will not. Please be aware that much of the coverage in the media surrounding 5G is hype. If you were around when 4G was announced, you may remember that 4G was also going to replace all hardline data connections.

5G is just a generational update of mobile cellular data communications. Good to have, but not the game changer that is being hyped.


When 5G becomes available in the big cities, will it eventually replace Fiber Optic Service?

Obviously this is a matter of opinion as it hasn’t happened, but we would say definitely not. Fiber will still have the benefits of higher capacity, higher reliability and be less interference prone and cheaper byte for byte to deliver and use.

In the same way that 4G didn’t displace your fixed Internet connection, 5G won’t displace traditional connections either. However new use-cases that can take advantage of 5G’s capabilities may well, and probably will, appear.

If mobile providers invest billions in 5G infrastructure, they’re going to want to see handsome profits. That means the user will have to pick up the tab.

Will wireless home users want to add 5G devices in their home if 5G is faster than Wi-Fi?

5G is a cellular broadband delivery technology. Think 4G that you have on your phone today, but with more bandwidth and lower latency (in some incarnations).

Just as you wouldn’t want to consume all your online services via cellular in your home today, (for cost reasons if nothing else) you won’t want to with 5G.

Let’s just talk about ‘faster’ for a moment. Bandwidth isn’t speed, it’s capacity. Perceived speed, or responsiveness, is usually referred to as latency.

A 1 Gigabit connection is not faster than a 50 megabit connection, it just has a higher capacity. If you’re consuming a few megabits of capacity, you’ll see no difference between the two.

However, if you want faster connections, plug it in with an Ethernet cable. This will always be faster than wireless, and have a higher capacity.


Will Wi-Fi continue to be used for offloading when 5G is available everywhere?

Short answer: yes. It’s going to be less expensive to use WiFi than 5G, byte for byte.

5G is simply the next generation of mobile (cellular) broadband, following on from 4G. It’s higher capacity, but you’ll still be paying for that data connection. In addition, in practical terms if everyone abandoned their WiFi connections and used 5G, the 5G network would probably collapse, it won’t be scaled for that kind of usage (there’s a *lot* of WiFi out there).


Is it dangerous to have 5G wifi on in your home at all times?

5G is a cellular technology, not WiFi. It is not yet commonly available, but as far as we’re aware there are no medical concerns regarding its use.

If you mean 802.11ac (sometimes called WiFi 5) or 5GHz WiFi, then the same answer applies, as far as we’re aware there are no medical concerns regarding its use.

As to other safety concerns, none that we’re aware of that are specific to any of these technologies.