Petya Petrova - Fotolia
The future of 5G will not affect organizations immediately, but it's important to start thinking about changes in the long term.
There's no doubt that 5G networks will arrive soon. AT&T will deploy 5G to a dozen cities in 2018, according to the telecommunications company. Cell carriers will begin to sell devices with 5G capabilities at the end of 2018, and these new devices could be in the mainstream by mid-2019.
The future of 5G
5G wireless technology promises to increase speed and decrease latency. The speed of 5G will be at least 100 Mbps, but some mobile implementations of 5G could reach a speed of 1 Gbps.
There is a chance that mobile devices will need two antennas to take advantage of 5G networks. This could cause battery issues and decrease early widespread adoption of 5G-capable phones.
Large-scale deployments may not happen until 2020. Although IT should keep track of 5G deployments, there's no need to change employee-owned and corporate-owned device plans in the near future.
How 5G will affect the enterprise
A few things will probably happen by 2020 that could affect organizations, however.
The increased use of streaming and IoT sensors will drive the price of 5G wireless coverage up about 5-10%. This will force organizations to either pay more or require employees to cover more of the cost of their BYOD and corporate-owned, personally enabled plans. Similar to 4G, however, the price of 5G coverage will decrease in the long term.
Remote work is not easy today. For example, it's often difficult for salespeople to submit applications in the field due to intermittent wireless coverage. 5G speed will improve the work conditions and productivity of remote workers. In the office, IT admins will soon have the ability to replace corporate Wi-Fi with 5G implementations.
With the introduction of 5G, hundreds of new use cases will emerge that will drive mobile productivity on a variety of devices. For example, 5G will enable the widespread use of self-driving cars. 5G will also drive augmented reality; in the retail space, augmented reality could provide information such as restaurant menus and bank information.
In addition, cloud strategies may shift to edge strategies and require mobile devices to connect to IoT sensors that can process data in many locations.
5G will expand the use of sensor-to-sensor communication in edge architecture. Traditional cloud platforms process the data that is sent from a sensor, which uses a lot of bandwidth. Edge computing, however, eliminates the need to send the data to the cloud.
Edge computing also enables sensors to communicate with each other. For example, with edge computing, remote field workers can get real-time status updates on their equipment in the field.
Concerns about the future of 5G networks could include increased costs and a potential lack of spectrum. Every upgrade in wireless networks, such as the upgrade from 3G to 4G, for example, has resulted in too many devices that operate on the same band of spectrum.