It might seem like yesterday where 4G just became widely available, 5G is already on the verge of being widely deployed and used. Granted, 5G has been teased for over the past 3 years, most of us can easily assume that it is merely faster Internet speeds, but to telcos like Digi, there is a grander picture of how 5G will transform the everyone’s digital life and businesses.
I had the opportunity to speak to Bjørn Talle Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research, at Digi’s 5G Malaysia showcase press conference yesterday, as he shared how 5G is being tested back at the telco group’s homeland, Norway.
One of the biggest advantage that 5G has over 4G is that it is able to connect more devices and being able to distribute bandwidth efficiently to different groups, which in other terms known as ‘network slicing’. This has been realised on the largest hospital in Norway, which they have been using to keep track thousands of beds fitted with wireless communication sensors, 5G has hence allowed the connectivity of the sensors to be always available, which is impossible with 4G as it would have easily caused congestion for that amount of devices connected to a single spectrum.
When questioned on the limitation of 4G, Bjørn shared an example of a fish farm in Norway, which they have cameras and autonomous feeding devices in their respective tanks that are connected to 4G networks, however once the farm receives a swarm of visitors that begin their social media activities on their phones, the cameras and feeding devices no longer work properly remotely, thus affecting business operations when the operators needed to check on the fish tanks.
Ultimately, 5G isn’t simply regarded as a next generation network technology that lets you download music or movies faster, but rather to handle the increasing number of IoT devices, reducing communications latency and ensuring consistent connectivity.
On a consumer perspective, this means we will be able to enjoy richer content experiences such as AR and VR over the air. For businesses, it would be a significant improvement in automated and mission critical applications, hence the demonstration of a 5G connected car and drone was being showcased at the event to prove the effortless and ultra low latency connectivity.
Digi intends to rollout 5G from 2021 onwards, which isn’t too faraway from now and we should be seeing more 5G devices to emerge in time to come.