Posted by Andrew Davies, managing director of Legal Futures Associate SpeechWrite
The much vaunted fifth-generation mobile network (5G) has finally arrived in the UK, to some fanfare.
It doesn’t seem that long since 4G was launched and many (particularly rural) areas still lack coverage of this current standard. Nevertheless, progress marches on and the next generation is gradually being rolled out in selected cities by the various network operators.
EE (owned by BT) was the first to launch, but Vodafone and Three are hot on their heels, with switch-on dates planned for July and August respectively.
How fast is 5G?
As with most touted internet speeds, there is no definitive answer and much is dependent on local network traffic, but in real world conditions it is expected that 5G will initially be around 10 times as fast as 4G.
However, the importance of 5G is not based on speed (and arguably we don’t need the internet to be any faster than 4G). Instead, the real benefit of 5G lies in its ability to provide more connections at once, expanding the 60,000 devices which 4G can handle per square mile, to over one million.
This massively increased capacity for device connections will help facilitate the Internet of Things.
Until competition has kicked in, the price of 5G is very high and coverage limited, with few compatible handsets available. Furthermore, fears have been expressed over the safety of the electromagnetic fields – but the EU has sought to allay any concerns by noting that exposure from 5G will be far below limits set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.
Meanwhile, recent debate surrounding potential national security implications of using Huawei products and services – some of which are currently instrumental in the provision of 5G infrastructure – means that setbacks could occur.
But despite these concerns, 5G is certain to gradually replace the current 4G standard over the coming months and years.
How will 5G help remote workers?
Cloud computing is set to be one of the key beneficiaries of 5G, as the speed and reliability (through reduced latency) of the new standard will enable more robust cloud services to be delivered to more users than ever before.
Many of these users are remote workers and, as businesses increasingly offer flexible methods of working, 5G will also help to facilitate this workplace revolution.
Remote employees already rely on their phone ‘hotspots’ where WiFi is unavailable – and 5G will add further resilience and extra security (compared to public WiFi connections).
SpeechWrite 360 is our state-of-the-art cloud voice recognition and dictation workflow solution designed to meet the agile working needs of the modern-day professional, so the launch of 5G bolsters our offering and will enable more remote workers to take advantage of hosted solutions.
Many companies will soon discover the whole new world of cloud computing with 5G that can take their businesses to the next level. It’s about time.