December 1, 2020

What Does 5G Mean?

With the explosion of new connected gadgets, vehicles and the inundation of streaming video, the world depends on internet connectivity. You’ve heard the hype about 5G, but what does it really mean? To break it down, the G in 5G simply means the next generation of wireless technology. 5G is a new cellular standard that introduces: bigger channels to speed up data, lower latency to be more responsive and the ability to connect to a lot more devices at once over the existing 4G LTE network. It expands broadband wireless services beyond mobile internet to Internet of Things (IoT) and critical communications segments.

As the full rollout of 5G continues, consumers and businesses may want to evaluate what their network and communications needs are now and into the future to determine if they are ready or need to make the jump to upgrading to 5G network compatible devices and services.

Benefits of 5G:

  • Faster data speeds – with estimated speeds up to 10 to 100 times faster than 4G LTE will save time and improve productivity
  • Reduced latency or lag time to virtually zero between devices and servers – a plus for logistics, agriculture and manufacturing industries
  • Enhanced capacity – with capacity for hundreds or thousands of devices seamlessly communicating creating a fertile ground for Virtual Reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) development
  • Increased bandwidth – with the combination of increased speed and network capacity, the potential for larger amounts of data than was possible with older network generations
  • Faster and easier communication with cloud platforms

Things to Consider

There’s no question the way we work is changing. With ongoing technology advances and the increase of remote workers – anyone from onsite or field service workers, mobile sales reps, work-from-home employees, to flex workers or wherever your office is – reliable internet connectivity is more important than ever. Given all the conversation around 5G technology, you might be wondering if you’ll be required to purchase new devices to access it. Here are some things to consider:

Is 4G LTE Being Phased Out? The 5G rollout is most certainly underway in the United States, but there are still very minimal coverage areas. This is going to take time. Meaning 4G LTE is not going away anytime soon. To add to that, 5G networks aren’t necessarily being designed to replace 4G networks, but rather work in conjunction with them.

Do I Need to Upgrade All of My Devices? While it’s true that in order to connect and get the benefits of a 5G network, you must have 5G-enabled devices. It is not true that upgrading now is a necessity and right decision for your business. 4G devices will still work on 5G networks long into the future; they just won’t get the super-fast speeds that 5G technology promises. In addition, there are still very few 5G devices available on the market today, with some coming with hefty price tags.

As a carrier agnostic service provider, REACH can be your single-point-of-contact to help plan and implement the steps to being 5G compatible. Our dedicated Telecom Solutions Consultant can review your current mobility plans regardless of which carrier you use, give recommendations to accommodate your current working situation (fully remote, partially remote, etc.), negotiate vendor contracts, implement new services and more.

Does My Service Provider Offer 5G Coverage? The 5G experience is only as good as the network that supports it. While the 5G network is rolling out, limitations exist. Not all service providers offer the same 5G coverage. REACH’s experts can explain what your service provider is really offering and if a change is necessary.

Barriers to Coverage are Still an Issue. Even if 5G coverage is available in your area, the same barriers with signal access will still be a problem. There are typically two main factors for a poor cellular signal: distance from a cell tower and interference from obstructions such as hills, mountains, heavy vegetation, and even the materials your building is constructed from.

Cellular signal boosters or cellular routers address these factors. As opposed to conventional modems, cellular routers do not require an Ethernet wire, phone line or fiber optic connections to connect to the Internet. They are designed to amplify weak outside signal and bypass obstructions using cellular towers that belong to a variety of carriers.

Benefits of using a cellular router:

  • Connect to the Internet from your vehicle, remote location or places where there is no or limited wired access
  • Save time and money because you are connected on the go, on your schedule – no need to head back to the office or a coffee shop
  • Save lives in the event of catastrophic emergency – FirstNet approved devices available
  • Single, mobile, high-speed broadband makes it convenient for multiple users to access the internet on their mobile phones, laptops and tablets
  • Can be used as your primary Wide Area Network (WAN) link where traditional access is unavailable or is not cost-effective to implement and with faster data speeds from 5G technology, cellular routers are becoming a more reliable source as your primary internet
  • Can be used as a backup network should your primary line-based network fail – keeping you up and running during an outage
  • Increased security over public WI-FI access – public venues pose a risk to your privacy as most are unsecured
  • Can work as a wireless repeater – giving you coverage throughout your business where barriers such as metal walls and distance from the main router exist or a rental office space where running additional wiring through walls or ceilings may be prohibitive

4G LTE and 5G-Ready Cellular Routers

Whether you’re staying with 4G LTE or thinking about upgrading to 5G technologies, REACH can do a site survey and signal evaluation to determine the quality of your signal. Based on those findings, REACH can recommend and install the appropriate cellular signal booster to extend the range of cell networks into the areas that receive poor service, including:

  • Offices
  • Commercial buildings
  • Homes
  • Vehicles
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Job trailers
  • Campers

REACH Pro Amplification Booster System

REACH’s portable or professionally installed REACH Pro System wireless amplifier is:

  • POWERFUL – outperforming systems purchased online and installed by the user
  • SUPER-FAST – customer-focused installation and service
  • CUSTOMIZED – solution to fit your exact needs and vehicle
  • WARRANTY – industry-leading warranty on parts and installation

Determining the Best Fit

REACH can separate the hype about 5G technology from reality and can help solve your most complex networking and communication challenges to determine the best strategy for either staying with 4G LTE or for 5G device and service implementation. Call 715.298.4414 or fill out the form below to schedule a free signal evaluation.