Fulcrum Blog

Article: What is 5G?

Mar 26, 2019 | blog |

Re-post - Original article by Christian de Looper from Digital Trends

One of the questions we run into frequently is whether or not a particular wireless solution will provide the marketed benefit. One area that gets a lot of this attention is the burgeoning “5G” technologies which have started to be rolled out in various major metropolitan areas in the last year or so.

A lot of the questions are due to different vendors marketing different products all as 5G, each with drastically different benefits and drawbacks.

For example, the 5G product being developed by two major US carriers offers high theoretical speeds … but uses a high-frequency of radio waves. These waves have shorter reach and less penetration of obstacles (such as walls of a building), which means a lot more infrastructure needs to be deployed in order to provide the levels of coverage we’ve come to expect with 3G and 4G networks. More infrastructure inherently means more time before the solution is viable for particular business needs – and will almost certainly mean increased costs as well.

A different major carrier is developing 5G over much lower frequency waves. This caps the expected speed at a level that’s only an incremental improvement vis-à-vis 4G. However, this technology will have exceptional building penetration and functional distance from cell towers … better than that of LTE/4G. Given the lowered infrastructure costs, it seems likely this technology will be brought to market and sustain lower price points.

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