It's the term heard all over the internet right now: 5G. Commonly talked about in breathless anticipation, and set to start showing up commercially in the mid-2019 range, this connectivity method means big change ahead. But what is it? And what kind of impact will it have on your own operations?
What Is 5G?
5G is a blanket term for "fifth generation mobile network." The
Groupe Speciale Mobile Association
(GSMA) has an eight-point scale for measuring whether or not a network qualifies as 5G. Not all of these need to be met; even the GSMA acknowledges "....it is difficult to conceive of a new technology that could meet all of these conditions simultaneously."
What Will 5G Do To -- and For -- My Bandwidth Needs?
Now that we know what 5G is, and isn't, we get a much better idea of what this kind of technology will do for our bandwidth needs.
- Availability. There should be five-nines (99.999%) network availability and 100% network coverage in a given region, or at least the perception of both.
- Bandwidth. Bandwidth should measure 1000 times the per unit area, and cover 10 to 100 times the number of connected devices.
- Energy use. The connection should use 90% less energy, and pose a 10 year battery life for machine-type devices that use little power on the network.
- Speed. A 5G connection should offer between 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps connections to end points, with a latency of one millisecond or less.
The coming of 5G signifies an era in which we need faster connections and better capabilities from our internet services. While 5G is the next generation of cellular, business internet is escalating in speed, reliability, and security as well. Talk to
today to learn more about what the future of wireless looks like, and how you can ready your business for new bandwidth needs down the line.
- Current needs will be met briskly. The network as we know it currently isn't in the best of shape, but nor is it at immediate risk of failure. Thus, 5G access will allow us to carry on readily, meeting needs in streaming video, big data analytics and the like.
- Previously unconsidered needs will likely also be met quickly. One of the biggest problems facing an internet-connected society is the "bandwidth gap," most notably in rural areas. 5G's wireless nature should open up this field and bring connectivity to the previously unconnected, or minimally-connected.
- New needs will emerge rapidly. Some advance that there are many potential new uses for bandwidth that are as yet unused or undiscovered in points like augmented reality or virtual reality. With a substantial new source of bandwidth available, and in more places, that greater connectivity will likely put a major strain on the new connection type.
high speed internet,
While IT departments must work to provide wide-area network (WAN) operations to solve today's needs, the most astute are considering tomorrow's needs as well. That's got more than a few thinking about how to address those future needs, and what the WAN of tomorrow will look like.
Next Generation of WAN
An outage of any kind that causes downtime doesn't appear to cost much on the surface. It is the less obvious losses -- from productivity to reputation and beyond -- that form the true cost of a downtime incident.
On the surface, it might sound ludicrous. We all know what kind of capability fiber optic internet access has, so how can any other technology actually be better? As it turns out, fiber has an unexpected rival in the field, and that's fixed wireless, specifically point-to-point microwave technology.
a Match for Fiber in Latency
One of fiber's great strengths is its low latency, but as it turns out, fixed wireless is a match for fiber in transmission latency thanks to a simple concept: the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Since fiber is laid along the ground, it must go through the various twists and turns of connectivity. Point-to-point microwave on the other hand, is a straight shot between two points.
Fixed Wireless's Win in Efficiency
It might come as a bit of a shock, but there's a sufficient difference between the two that ZDNet wondered, not so long ago, if fiber's legacy would ultimately be as a woefully inefficient experiment in
internet service provision
Fixed Wireless's Win in Speed
If the last part came as a shock, this part certainly will. In some cases, fiber's speed advantages can actually be matched or even beaten by fixed wireless. While gigabit fiber is starting to come increasingly into play, many businesses are looking for connections between 20 and 500 Mbps.
Point-to-point microwave can readily match that, and in some cases, reach the gigabit range. Throw in the fact that electromagnetic waves transfer up to
50 percent faster
in the air than in cables of any sort and fixed wireless actually gets an edge in speed.
How Do I Get Started With Fixed Wireless?
If all of these points have you considering fixed wireless, then a great place to start getting access to this technology is
. MHO Networks offers fast installation, a guaranteed 10 business day delivery, and has the kind of experience you need to get the system installed correctly and rapidly.
- Easier to install. Consider for a moment why Google Fiber isn't running a lot of installations any more. Google Fiber got out of fiber essentially because fiber costs too much to put in. Fixed wireless, meanwhile, is significantly less expensive.
- Faster to install. Here, easy equates to faster, as fixed wireless can be set up in days, depending on circumstances. A fiber project can take months start to finish due to the sheer amount of infrastructure involved.
- More dependable. Fiber depends on wires, and wires can be cut, broken, or otherwise fail due to weather or other conditions. Fixed wireless has no such weaknesses, and thus is generally more dependable, improving its efficiency.
While wide area networks (WANs) have been a going concern
since the 1970s
, and changes have come and gone therein, some of the biggest changes seen yet are some of the most recent. Changes like the explosive growth of cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) mean big changes for the WAN.
The Very Fabric of WANs Has Altered
More and more networks are getting away from the old standard of multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), a big part of the WAN since the 1990s, and are moving instead to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) technology.
Many enterprise users are discovering that business-grade or even some consumer-facing internet connections are offering more bandwidth than standard WAN services. To pass up such options, therefore, would leave businesses at a marked disadvantage.
Though not every business is moving in this direction, many are developing a
hybrid WAN environment
that calls on both the standard WAN and the overall internet to deliver the best in value.
Changes in the Cloud
The cloud in general is bringing some of the biggest changes to WAN. Greater scalability than ever is now readily accessible, and new options in apps are coming into play.
Changes From the IoT
The IoT is also representing a game-changing experience for WAN operations. Thanks to the IoT's nature as what amounts to an internet of interconnected systems, the end result is both opportunity and hazard.
- Increased scalability. With WAN and cloud systems working together, there's a better ability to take advantage of collocations and remote operations. Small and medium-sized business (SMB) users are particularly interested in this phenomenon, and more and more, the larger data center is pretty much a province of large-scale operations.
- New app options. With increasing cloud-based options coming available, that means new apps available on every front. Using WAN to tap into those new apps opens up options ranging from big data analysis to customer relationship management (CRM) tools and more.
How Can I Manage All These Changes?
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to changes. While IoT and cloud systems will affect the WAN,
has expertise in the connectivity that next-generation networks will require. Our experience in offering superior internet will help you take the greatest advantage of these new and powerful systems.
- Greater demand for security. With all this data flowing through a system, and more points than ever requiring access, the data prizes are richer and the means of access that much easier. A greater demand for security therefore, naturally follows.
- Capacity management is almost as vital. New data is likely to stretch demand for bandwidth to a fever pitch. Trying to keep capacity straight will be vital to ensure the network can handle all the demands placed on it, making capacity management crucial.
Internet of Things
With all the options there are these days for improving a network's operations, it's easy to look at the whole thing and wonder where in the world to start. For those considering software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), it's one of the best options around in terms of improving network performance.
SD-WAN Improves Traffic Flow
By adding SD-WAN operations to a standard office environment, that office can take advantage of significantly improved
network traffic flow
thanks largely to traffic prioritization.
Under a normal system, users are basically pulling bandwidth on a first-come-first-served basis. So if the sales department is sending a flood of emails out for its newest round of email marketing, but HR wants to stage a video conference, that leaves the two fighting over bandwidth. With traffic prioritization, the emails can be sent out intermittently to make the most use of available bandwidth.
SD-WAN Improves Network Reliability
That improvement in traffic flow is actually part of a larger improvement in network reliability. Sure, some will say here that that traffic flow can be improved with load balancers -- and it can to a degree -- but SD-WAN does more than that. It also improves overall network reliability. How?
SD-WAN Improves Network Costs
Bottom line impact is one of the greatest impacts any new product or service can boast. Reducing costs means improving profit, as long as revenue remains static. SD-WAN, meanwhile, can reduce costs on several fronts, as an
- No more broadband backup. There's no longer a need to hold broadband connections as a backup with SD-WAN. Now, all broadband connections are available for use at all times, making a more reliable network.
- Improve error correction. SD-WAN systems allow for both forward error correction and packet error correction. With multiple error corrections going on at once, that improves the overall stability of the network and reduces the odds of failure.
- Add overall bandwidth. The typical local area network (LAN) is running at gigabit speed, while WAN tends to run in the megabit range. By stepping up to an SD-WAN, the gap is somewhat closed, meaning more bandwidth.
How Do I Get Started With SD-WAN?
If you're ready to learn about technologies that can improve your network, then you're ready to call
. Whether among branches or with the outside world, MHO Networks can help you establish the connectivity your business needs to succeed.
- Reduced downtime. If network downtime drops, then there's more able to be done in the same time. Formerly lost opportunities can be acted on. Businesses using SD-WAN are 25 percent more likely to see less downtime.
- Reduced capital spending. A network up more often means less costly physical augmentation. Sixty-five percent of businesses with SD-WANs saw at least some reductions in capital expenditures.
- Better branch connections. Connecting various branches allows information to be more readily shared and used appropriately. SD-WAN is specifically meant to improve inter-branch connections.
On the surface, it would be easy to think that system downtime really doesn't cost anything. No one ever gets a bill for downtime, after all. In some cases, when a service level agreement (SLA) has been violated, it can even prompt taking something off the bill.
However, downtime can have many costs that users don't consider. The real costs of downtime aren't always measured in dollars and cents, but many of them can have an
on the bottom line all the same.
What Might Have Been
A familiar concept to economists--though not always so familiar everywhere else--is
cost. Opportunity costs are costs incurred by not pursuing an opportunity, either by inaction or deliberate choice. When a business doesn't pursue a million-dollar line of business because of perceived lack of potential, the opportunity cost is that million dollars. If a company holds cash, for one reason or another, without placing it in an interest-bearing vehicle, the lost interest is an opportunity cost.
Downtime creates huge opportunity costs. When employees can't work thanks to a down network or application or anything else that experiences downtime, that business's employees are incurring
cost. Not only can the employees not produce, which means that potential gain is lost, but the employees must still be paid, which turns into
cost as well.
Another less quantifiable but still important cost of downtime is reputation. It's well known that more people will tell others about bad service than about good. A 2014
American Express study found that the number of people talking about bad service
those talking about good by a factor of almost three to one.
There’s a growing demand for Internet access, with the world’s usage to include 48 percent of the global population this year. In many countries, the access to an adequate Internet connection will come up short. In 2017 and beyond, the role of fixed wireless will become more important, making it possible to meet the needs of consumers and businesses.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs are becoming common in many corporations. IT divisions like them because it reduces wear and tear on the company’s equipment, and employees like the comfort of using their own devices. The main challenge of such programs, though, is managing the increased pressure on the company’s network.
It’s expected that the number of Internet users around the world will reach 3.6 billion of the population, or 48 percent, this year. The demand for a high speed connection challenges the copper and fiber options and their ability to reach both dense urban and rural areas. For companies looking for ample bandwidth and flexibility, the speed and scalability of copper and fiber come up short, too.