The rollout of 5G has continued apace during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite bizarre conspiracy theories that the virus was actually caused by 5G masts — we’ll be hearing that the moon is made of Emmental next — traffic grew by 40% month on month at the end of last year.
It’s easy see to why 5G is so popular. It promises eye-popping superfast download speeds and incredible connectivity. What’s more, unlike fixed-line business broadband, you don’t need a fibre connection running direct into your office to use it.
Because of these advantages, some have speculated that 5G could render cable business broadband unnecessary. This is an attractive theory — especially if broadband speeds aren’t the fastest in your area — but most experts believe it’s jumping the gun for now.
Time and motion
There’s no doubt that 5G is a massive step forward from 4G. Downloading a high-definition film, for example, now takes seconds rather than minutes with speeds of up to 10 Gbps. What’s more, 5G is allegedly capable of supporting several devices simultaneously. This makes it ideal for the Internet of Things and future technologies like artificial intelligence.
However, although it will take time for the government to rollout full fibre business broadband across the land, the same applies to 5G. This is because 5G wave frequencies need to be closer to the end user to be effective. Therefore, more transmitters will need to be erected in order for 5G to reach its full potential. And this requires significant investment.
Don’t believe everything you read
Although 5G has the potential to reach 10 Gbps, mobile technologies frequently deliver much lower speeds in practice; therefore one should take advertised claims about 5G’s speed with a liberal pinch of salt. For example, there have already been reports that 5G can actually be slower than 4G in certain circumstances.
The reality is that available speeds depend on a number of factors. Consequently, there must be at least some doubt as to whether 5G can really reliably support multiple devices streaming or downloading large files simultaneously. And that’s a problem that high-speed business broadband simply doesn’t have.
It’s also worth remembering that mobile signals can be adversely affected by factors such as your distance to a transmitter, physical obstacles, and congestion. What’s more, because 5G specifically uses higher frequencies, the signal has greater difficulty penetrating solid objects likes walls and windows. All the normal frustrations associated with mobile connectivity therefore could be magnified with 5G.
Whilst the potential speeds offered by 5G might seem attractive, most organisations simply won’t want to chance anything when their business is on the line; therefore the appeal of fixed-line business broadband, with its reliable service that’s unlikely to be affected by external factors, will surely endure for now.
It’s worth considering the enduring appeal of VoIP at this point. Those who value sound quality and dependability prefer fixed desk phones over mobiles every day of the week. And their hesitancy concerning voice communications also applies to video calls and Internet connectivity too. Running a videoconference with multiple participants via a mobile signal, which can be prone to interference, isn’t a risk they’re prepared to take.
With an increasing number of offices relying on cloud-based applications, and the transition towards integrated communications and digital offices well underway, we predict that businesses will continue to crave the most dependable connection available. And until the landscape changes dramatically, that’s fixed line business broadband.
You know where you are with a fixed line
Although the reliability of mobile networks will improve in the future, the days when businesses can rely on them exclusively are still a long way off. Instead it’s most likely that businesses will continue to rely on a combination of both fixed line and 5G in the short and medium term future. Therefore the status quo will prevail.
Furthermore, those on the 5G bandwagon should appreciate that 5G transmitters can’t function in a vacuum. They only work when connected to a reliable fixed-line fibre network. Therefore, the growth of mobile technologies will always be dependent on the existence of robust, expandable, upgradeable fibre cables. And as this fibre network grows, it makes sense to utilise it for business purposes too.
Our advice would therefore always be to secure the best fixed-line broadband available in your area — something we can help you with. After all, fibre is currently the only way to operate your web-based communication, collaboration, and project management software whilst simultaneously enjoying peace of mind.
The worry with putting all your eggs in the 5G basket is that some of these eggs might end up on your face.