Is the arrival of 5G a blessing for innovative companies?
Are you best preparing your company for the arrival of 5G? Or does this speedy network still belong to the future? There are a lot of strong stories circulating about 5G and how it will drastically change our lives. But what are the benefits of 5G and how do we prepare ourselves for it?
The arrival of the 5G network could drastically change the ways in which we live and do business. Thanks to the much improved, lightning-fast connections, higher capacity and better reach, the cutting-edge network has paved the way for a number of new applications. It’s offering companies in several sectors the possibility of digitalising more quickly, and it’s essential for innovation. We zoom in on the benefits that 5G promises.
- Speed: There is a lot of discussion about the actual speed. According to some sources, the 5G network is capable of up to 20,000 Mbps, which is a hundred to two hundred times faster than the ‘old’ 4G network. Whatever the case, 5G promises to be lightning fast.
- Real-time communication: The delay or lag on the connection is limited to milliseconds. This real-time connection is paving the way for new machine-to-machine applications where an immediate reaction is critical. Think about directing drones and vehicles, temperature monitoring, or controlling robots in production lines.
- Better coverage, greater reach: 5G has a greater reach for each area and good coverage indoors. That will be particularly good for the Internet of Things: connected devices, such as sensors in parking garages, that measure availability or meters that monitor flow in the water network will all communicate with each other without any disruption thanks to 5G.
- Greater capacity: 5G promises more bandwidth that you can divide and allocate to specific user groups. As a result, multiple users (or groups) can use the 5G network at the same time. The greater capacity could make it possible for, for example, logistic applications where large amounts of information are processed at the same time.
- More stable connection: 5G is said to offer an even more stable connection than we are used to. Especially if you compare it with Wi-Fi that is more subject to disruption caused by the layout of your office or home, certain objects that block the signal, interference of electronic devices or the Wi-Fi connection of your neighbours.
Thanks to 5G, you’re assured a continuous network where data exchange has barely any delay. And the faster, more powerful network simplifies the development of new technological applications based on machine-to-machine communication.
Thanks to 5G, machines or devices exchange huge amounts of data super-quickly, without any need for human intervention. This allows an application, in combination with GPS and Location-Based Services (LBS), to communicate and process information about the position of a vehicle, as well as its speed, the number of kilometres driven, the fuel use, maintenance information and the number of hours worked by a staff member. And it does it all in a single step. Thanks to smart sensors and 5G, you can track and determine, in real time, exactly where in the harbour containers are or need to be placed. Alternatively, think about the possible applications when it comes to telemetry: remote reading of stock levels and alarms, or monitoring statuses of all sorts. This way of working cuts down costs, it’s reliable and it’s scalable.
Vigilance is certainly advised. 5G guarantees the flow of and access to significantly higher data quantities. And that immediately broadens the risk of cyberattack. Ensuring privacy and security will therefore become even more important. There are a number of attention points that we are already taking into consideration:
- Cross-layer security – You’re best setting up a single framework to coordinate all the various security methods for every security layer, such as the Internet of Things.
- End-to-end security. You need to provide a secure communication connection between the user and the core network.
- Cross-domain security. This is an absolute must. 5G networks are leading to the creation of more and more new applications, with new security requirements. Anyone who operates within the 5G system is best working together to realise integrated security solutions across all domain boundaries.
- Secure-by-design. With every change and evolution on the network, security needs to be built into the design.
Our neighbouring countries have been preparing at full speed to allow providers to offer 5G as from 2020. At the moment, it’s not clear when or whether 5G will come to Belgium: there are currently no test projects underway. The Belgian authorities do not agree about how the proceeds from the auctioning of 5G frequencies should be distributed. It’s possible we will miss the boat with 5G, or will find ourselves hobbling behind. Perhaps we should use this time to take our first steps towards setting up 5G security.