Will 5G be Beneficial or Disruptive?


The new wave of the internet is here. 5G has begun to roll out through phone carriers throughout the US. In the UK, a couple of major carriers are expected to deploy 5G later on this summer. It is also expected that 5G will be as disruptive, if not more so than cloud computing.

The upcoming emergence of 5G raises many questions related to concerns with 5G’s compatibility with cloud computing. How will the faster mobile speeds affect the cloud and its applications? Will 5G improve the cloud, or make some technologies obsolete?

What’s the deal with 5G?

To fully dive into the impact 5G could have on cloud computing, 5G must be first understood. Like network standards that came before it, 5G uses radio frequencies (RF) to relay and receive data. To differentiate 5G from its predecessors, the downloading and uploading speeds must be at least 20 Gbps per second down and 10 Gbps up. Although speed is drastically improved with 5G, latency is decreased. Latency refers to the time it takes for two devices on a network to respond to each other. It took about 100 milliseconds for devices on the 3G network, 30 milliseconds for those on 4G, and it should only be 1 millisecond for 5G users. 1 millisecond is basically instantaneous. 

What are the benefits? 

With the low latency of 5G, anything that relies on speed will be improved. Control of robotics with real-time speed management will open up worlds of technological advancements. For activities like remote surgery, 5G will actually help to save lives. Internet of Things (IoT) devices has a lot to gain from 5G. Traffic congestion, water distribution needs, security, and even pollution can all use the 5G capabilities to its advantage. IoT devices aid agriculture in being more efficient to increase the world’s food supply. Self-driving cars' adoption can quickly turn reality with the emergence of 5G. In terms of the impact on the cloud, the benefits do not seem to reach that realm.

Impact on the Cloud

Although it will be a little unclear of the effects of 5G on the cloud until it actually is rolled out, there can be some speculation. As we have covered, 5G will essentially eliminate latency. Theoretically, cloud computing could be eliminated by these instantaneous speeds as well. How so? Well, the cloud provides the benefits of connecting to and transmitting data through the cloud. It acts as a middle man for various parties to access the data transferred into the cloud. With 5G, there would be no need to go through that extra step. Instead, one device can connect to another through 5G with only one-millisecond latency. Data can be transferred from user to user in no time. There would be no need to go through the extra step of utilizing the cloud. Cloud infrastructure will still carry importance and have use cases with 5G in the world, but it is not far fetched to think of a world where the cloud might be obsolete.