US Ready for 5G
Although some people may disagree with my title, such as Fortune Magazine, citing the reason that there is not enough fiber in the ground to handle all the traffic that 5G would need– I beg to differ. Nobody in their right mind would cover this vast continent with fiber unless it is done with public funds. However, several “regional” data centers could be set up to cache the needed content locally –even base stations can house caching engines. Furthermore, optical fiber technology is not the only technology around.
Millimeter-Wave radios operate in the 70/80/90 GHz range, which have “pencil beam” shaped radio waves measured between 1-10 millimeters. This means the radios can cross beams without interference and can be re-used instead of reserved for a certain carrier or network. The FCC opened up those frequencies for that exact reason in 2003. Furthermore, millimeter-wave radios can theoretically go up to 10Gbps, replacing fiber-optic cables in the short term. That means 5G networks can be built out quickly, and fiber can follow when the business case arises. Even Apple is experimenting with millimeter-wave, and Samsung already has a home router ready, albeit both for different applications than just mentioned.
The US should Spearhead 5G
Only when the US spearheads a technology does it really reach its potential. For years, and reasons unknown, the US was behind in wireless networks. While the world was building 3G networks, the US only did so when the iPhone was released. That was really when the networks started to suffer. The traffic the iPhone demanded was just too much, and the operators were forced to upgrade their systems.
Then, and only then, did the US start to take over the world by leaps and bounds with regards to mobile networks. 4G/LTE became a reality and smartphones became the norm in the US. All of a sudden, the economy completely changed. The entire economy began being run by smartphones and apps on the mobile Internet! Companies like Uber and AirbnB have multi-billion-dollar valuations, Verizon bought out Vodafone’s shares, and the biggest corporations in the world became Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.
AI, IoT & 5G
The reality of Artificial Intelligence (AI) came of age in this era of smartphones and 4G/LTE. Reaping the profits of the new economy, the tech giants set their eyes on AI. AI was able to learn through the tracking of Smartphones on humans driving (Uber), walking and delivering (DoorDash) passengers and items. Some were just trying to make a living, only to be replaced by AI in the near future. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook began pouring billions of dollars and hours of research into AI applications –and so did Wall Street at an alarming rate.
The Internet of Things (IoT) also plays a significant role in this new emerging economy, but 5G is the final ingredient needed to connect it all. One big happy connected–and AWARE– economy. But on a lighter note, another boost of investment in technology and infrastructure will create new industries and new jobs– you just need to be at the right place at the right time.
So, is the US ready for 5G? I say absolutely. The market is primed for it, besides, how else is rural America supposed to get fiber-like speeds? AI and IoT are just a couple of years away from being “market ready”, and astonishingly so is 5G. 2020 will be the year to look out for. So, you have a few years to begin planning how you will fit in to that new ecosystem.
What are your plans for the trinity of AI, IoT and 5G? Where do you fit?