What will 5G mean for businesses?

What could 5G mean for businesses in the future, including access to data, network efficiency and new capabilities?

5G is on the horizon, and with gigabit download speeds being touted across the telecoms industry, it’s clear that mobile users have a lot to be excited about. It’s not just consumers who stand to benefit from the next generation of wireless connectivity, however.

Business owners will also feel the effects of 5G, and they too have plenty to look forward to. 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) in particular promises to change how connectivity-dependent organisations work, allowing greater capabilities and – most importantly – more productivity.

>See also: 5G will be transformative for the UK

New speeds, new possibilities

The size of jump from 3G and 4G to this next generation is hard to overstate – it stands to offer so much. Of all the differences, speed will undoubtedly be the most obvious for businesses.

At present, Ofcom is reporting the average broadband speed in the UK to be 36Mbps, and many internet users – particularly those with ADSL connections – struggle to achieve even half of this.

There are no publicly available average speeds for business connectivity, but larger organisations will have private networks based upon high bandwidth solutions such as leased lines and pure fibre.

However, with over 99% of UK businesses employing fewer than 249 people and 96% employing fewer than nine, the most common broadband service used is a business variant of “home-style” connectivity and tends to offer similar performance to the 36Mbps quoted by Ofcom.

>See also: Sales of 5G smartphones to ‘hit 100 million in 2021’

5G FWA looks set to exceed these current speeds comfortably, with trials pointing to bandwidths of 1Gbps and above. We also expect latency to drop to around 1ms, compared with 4G’s average of 45ms, creating a host of exciting new opportunities. These improvements are drastic enough for 5G FWA to not only surpass existing standards but also to beat the likely evolutions of its fixed-line counterparts.

Data when you need it

Today’s organisations are fuelled by data, and the speed at which it moves from one point to the next is hugely important. Files, however, are getting bigger. The quality and quantity of the content we consume is growing quickly, and the data people keep contains more detail than ever before. It is great news on the whole – with this data giving us all incredible new powers – but the shift also presents some challenges.

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5G FWA will allow companies to shift huge volumes of data in minimal time. Over a full-strength 1Gbps connection, for example, it’s possible to download a 5GB file in less than a minute; the same file travelling over a 36Mbps connection – the UK residential average – would take closer to 20 minutes to arrive.

It’s easy to see how big an impact this saved time could have on productivity; staff will be given time to focus on other, more critical tasks that demand human attention.

Easing the pressure

Such large bandwidth will allow multiple users to work comfortably and efficiently on the same 5G networks, removing the need for complex setups and additional equipment.

Employees can confidently move large files around while downloading from and using powerful cloud applications without impacting the productivity of those around them.

This applies both on-premises and away from it, with superfast mobile connections allowing employees to work more comfortably than ever while on the move. In turn, there will be a dramatic increase in cloud use.

>See also: 5G’s rise must coincide with sustainability

Low-latency applications such as trading will also benefit massively from 5G FWA; users will be ready to respond to external events faster than ever before, allowing for better business decisions to be made.

A faster route to connectivity

With 5G opening new doors for fast and reliable Fixed Wireless Broadband, businesses will be able to get connected more efficiently than ever before. When growth brings the need for better connectivity, expanding on existing infrastructure would usually be a daunting, time-consuming and costly process, involving a lot of digging in the streets with associated traffic chaos.

By comparison, FWA will – if you are in range of a service point – be enabled by simply putting your new FWA router in the window.

As a result, businesses can avoid major disruption and react quickly to changing circumstances. Expansion no longer has to be a scary prospect – it’s something that could be easily managed without too much hassle or expense.

An exciting future

Arqiva anticipates huge leaps forward for wireless connectivity and the businesses that depend on it over the next decade. 5G FWA is not just a major improvement on existing fixed-line solutions – it’s an improvement on the anticipated evolutions of those technologies too, and that bodes extremely well for organisations across all industries, as well as consumers.

>See also: 5G technology market set to grow rapidly

5G will have a massive impact on the national economy by giving organisations of all sizes and purposes incredible new capabilities.

From city-based SMEs gradually increasing their reliance on the cloud to larger organisations requiring resilient services to ensure they are always connected – so many businesses stand to benefit from the next generation of wireless connectivity.


Sourced from John Lillistone, head of Products, Telecoms, at Arqiva

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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