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3G, 4G, 5G Wireless Networks Hot or Hype

Yesterday December 19th Financial Times dot com  did a story on “5G wireless networks speeding towards an uncertain future”. I am working in the middle of the Telecom industry, and the portion I work in specializes in wireless telecom. With that said I had a interest in the story and simply wanted to share my input and observations, as I see them. For me the question is “if there really is a need for 5G wireless networks today?”. 

5g wireless networks

Even though there is a good deal of push and support for the need of the technology that 5G foretells that it will bring, the question remains of is there current demand? There are government agencies, large conglomerates, and research academia that are pushing for the need for the need for such an expansion of bandwidth. As I admitted in the beginning of this article, I work for a company in the wireless telecom industry. To be exact, I work for a company named Last Mile Gear and we are a WISP equipment re-seller. We work directly with many of the manufacturers of 4G wireless radios, antennas, and wireless telecom equipment that the industry requires to offer the consumer wireless services. I felt it was a must to make it clear where I sit as I view the industry and write this article.

So, it is shared in the article that last month (November 2016) in Nevada there was a conference that set the hardware standards for the 5G technologies. Funny thing is that the software element for this future technology have yet to be agreed upon, if built at all. Just like many other technologies in the twentieth century like the propane vehicle, the Segway, and so on is 5G simply a technology that is being over hyped to serve the masses or the landlords.

I have been watching the demand for video increase and the world of mobile expand daily. I have no doubt at all that there is a growing demand for increased speed and bandwidth. The question seems to be how much need is there really going to be and how soon? I suppose that it would help for me to try and give an example of what all of this “5G versus 4G or 3G” technology stuff really equates to. I will use the example given by Financial Times Research:

Downloading a HD movie over 3G

9 Minutes 31 Seconds start to finish.

Downloading a HD movie over 4G

31 Seconds start to finish.

Downloading a HD movie over 5G

At 7.5Gbps, it takes around 1 Second start to finish.

Granted that the speeds of better 5G wireless networks would be great especially with increasing activities of mobile and video literally from minute to minute, there is the debate of is it too much too fast. Some in the world of telecom and economics are posing the concept that there might not be a need for such speeds and capacity. The consumers will only value so much speed in order to download beyond a certain rate of speed and volume.

In the future if I can watch a movie on my tablet or phone will it make me get rid of my home flat screen tv? Probably not. I do not watch my television because it is more convenient or offers me the ability to watch a movie in one second as opposed to one minute. The question remains that if you build it, will they come.

Across the worldwide market of information consumers, there are products and services that we never could have imagined ten years ago. What was the major reason for these technologies not to have been offered to the consumer? Most often, it was that there was no technology in place to support the delivery. I believe this will be a hotly debated issue for the next couple of years. I also believe that there will always be minds out in the world that will create innovation based on need and then demand. When it comes to the true demand and/or need for 5G technology now being real of inflated, only time and risk investments will answer that. The only thing I know for sure, by being in the industry, is that smart devices are growing smarter by month, week, day, and demand is growing by the minute. For the wireless internet service providers in the world, the better services that you can offer to your customers, currently and for the next decade or more, the better your growth, roi, and satisfaction.

I would like to give thanks and reference to financial times for the great article they wrote at this link.

5G mobile networks speed towards an uncertain future