I’m going to be popping over to the world famous monstrously sized (and ticket priced) Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week. There’s going to be lots of exciting releases and stories on the table, but I expect the big song and dance will be made around the forthcoming 5G standard -which promises to boost 4G speeds by tenfold and its reliability.
Of late though, there’s been a lot of talk about how 5G will make the IoT a reality by expanding the size of the already massive internet into something hundreds of times bigger as we connect every device we can think of to it, including fridges, freezers and underpants (I made that last one up, but I wouldn’t be surprised).
But the big excitement for me (and probably because I’m from the country with the worst broadband), is the potential for 5G to replace broadband connections that currently use our landlines. For most of us, broadband speeds are unacceptable and BT and their like have been peddling ‘fibre infinity’ products for years which haven’t ever even had the slightest sniff of a fibre optic cable – they’re still all stuck to the rusty copper wires that Alexander Bell installed some time back. Quite how trading standards never picked up on that one I’ve not worked out. But I digress. 5G could quite possibly see the end of the copper wire if it truly delivers what it promises. The speeds are superior and the cost of downloading data is diminishing rapidly. Whether it is stable enough remains to be seen, but we see our customers happily using our 4G routers day in day out without a quibble.
5G also presents an opportunity for emerging markets, who can simply skip past the costly network infrastructure required to provide copper connectivity and fibre connections to households, and have them instead fire up a 5G enabled router and get online within minutes at lightning speeds.
I’ll keep you all posted with the excitement that MWC brings over the coming days, I’m hoping to see some innovative solutions for consumer and small business broadband that doesn’t require messy wires. Let’s keep my fingers and copper wires crossed!