What will 5G really bring us?

5G is the network of the near future. And fantasies about it are abundant. To stay away from the fairy tales, I will lift up the bonnet of 5G for you. What is underneath? A look at the technology will reveal the possibilities of 5G in practice.

When watching a film online, chances are that the images are sent by a distant server. The distance your blockbuster has to cover, leads to problems in the form of delays and small hitches. 5G has a different design. The complete network is available to every user to process and send data. As a result, your film finds the shortest route to your screen. The result: a crystal-clear film. That’s great, of course, but for other applications this technology is quite essential. Like vehicles. 5G will reduce latency from hundreds of milliseconds to a few milliseconds. In this way the network will become so reliable that autonomous cars have their digital eyes wide open at all times – enabling us to trust them blindly.

5G clears the way

Another extraordinary characteristic of 5G is that it can be subdivided. 'Slicing' we call it. Imagine the network is a wide road with lots of lanes, that everyone is free to use at will. For important users, like the police and ambulances, we reserve separate lanes. In this way they can always do their crucial work. Previously, there was no such guarantee. Too much traffic on the road resulted in actual congestion. Tailbacks! For that reason, separate networks had to be rolled out for critical tasks. Laborious and expensive. With 5G we can permanently reserve ‘traffic lanes', or only during rush hours. Think about a soccer stadium that hosts a tornado of data-consuming fans every other week. With 5G such a soccer club can easily reserve the necessary bandwidth, to make sure they stay in competition, at least digitally.

5G gives breathing space

5G is, therefore, an efficient, flexible and extremely reliable network. And did I mention that it’s also much faster than 4G? That would be no luxury. Consumers and companies have an increasing need for data. European data usage is expected to multiply by five in the next five years. Due to customer demand, government regulation and competition, internet providers are obliged to continuously increase capacity, whereas prices are not equally rising. Because 5G is much more efficient than previous networks, it can process more data at lower costs. This gives telecom companies some breathing space. 5G is, therefore, very important for the business model behind the internet. What users can expect from all the benefits of 5G, differs per segment: consumers, industries, public authorities – they will all reap different rewards. Please continue reading:

5G for the consumer

5G has a lot to offer to the consumer. All his mobile devices will become faster with more power. If he loves gaming or streaming films, he can prepare for a party. After, all, the gamer with the least latency will be the one quickest to launch an attack on his opponents. A strategic advantage! In this, augmented and virtual reality on mobile devices will provide a new and spectacular experience. The consumer also sees other devices in his environment change and become smarter. Fridges, central-heating boilers, cars – everything will be connected and smart. Once, convenience and waste were in line. With 5G this will hopefully change. The heating at home is on when needed, but off when possible. The fridge is helping to waste as little food as possible and the electric car is preferably charging during off-peak hours. For the consumer, life will become a lot easier and less wasteful.

5G for the industry

Industries worldwide are connected by cable-wiring. Not figuratively, but literally. When it comes to crucial connections, wireless networks are often out of the question. Instead, everything is cabled, often equipped with private networks. Very expensive and miles away from the bright future which is dawning: factories and logistic companies that, partly or even fully, function autonomously. By freeing themselves from cable-wiring, companies can organise their processes completely flexibly. That makes deploying robots a lot easier. Think about machines that are fully automated, move around freely and can even work together. These possibilities are no longer science-fiction now. The fast and reliable 5G makes it all possible.

5G for public authorities

Data and network quality are crucially important for many government activities. Just think about traffic control, air quality, taxes and general safety. In all these areas 5G offers plenty of opportunities. A term which is often used is the ‘smart city’. A city which is organised smartly in various ways. Sensors, connected with each other and the internet, monitor everything at all times. Due to those data, traffic is in perfect control, garbage collected, street lighting managed and energy distributed across the city. It may sound futuristic, but chances are that your city or municipality is already involved in this kind of innovations.

5G in the making

There are very many ways we can think and dream about 5G. And why shouldn’t we? Previous generations of mobile networks have produced an entire world of mobile concepts and apps. 5G will offer us endless new possibilities again. I cannot wait to see what the industry and the private sector will come up with. To realise their ideas, VodafoneZiggo and Ericsson have started to collaborate in looking for the best solutions. Recently we have entered into a collaboration with the city of Eindhoven. In a 5G lab we now join forces with scientists, students and numerous companies. In the end with only one goal: to leverage the potential of 5G to the max.

Stefan Krijnen – 5G and IoT specialist at Ericsson

Tackling challenges together
Ericsson is perhaps the most important partner of VodafoneZiggo. After all, it produces and maintains all the mobile networks. In addition, we work together to find ways to offer the best possible service to the industry and the private sector. For the industry, this often boils down to customization and special applications. Philips’ ambition, for example, and one of the first use cases within 5G Eindhoven, is to enable a specialised doctor to remotely attend an operation, supervise or instruct personnel and even perform the operation. VodafoneZiggo and Ericsson tackle this kind of challenges together, with the aim to realise the most fantastic wishes.