5G will transform the way we live and work and is predicted to become the technological driver of the 5th Industrial Revolution (4IR). 5G promises to offer unparalleled data capabilities and connectivity that will enable the automation of a wide range of industries including retail, agricultural, and automotive businesses.
However, 5G will also permit disruptive technologies and thereby create new vulnerabilities in the collection, management, decipherment, and protection of data and cause new cybersecurity issues.
5G and the near future
The performance goals of 5G are unequalled for wireless networks, but it will not be available extensively until the 2020s. Grounded in the false assumption that 5G will replace fibre optic, currently questions arise of which will be better. However, 5G wireless and fibre optic networks are counterparts and in tandem will offer a more unified Internet experience across fixed and mobile applications. Without 5G, fibre lacks mobility and without fibre, the ground-breaking goals of 5G would be difficult to achieve and a dense fibre network is needed. Thus, the vast expected growth in connectivity and data emplaces fibre as the backbone for 5G effectiveness.
Fibre optics and 5G wireless networks
Compared to legacy copper systems, fibre optic consists of high-speed wireline networks that offer improved speed, security, and bandwidth. Fibre optic technology is used in long-haul networks since signals can travel as far as 65km without losing strength.
Fibre is increasingly used in urban areas and access networks rather than copper since copper can only transfer a gigabit signal for about 90 metres and a fibre-to-the premises (FTTP) configuration is necessary to avoid losing signal strength.
5G will function as the mobile fronthaul of a networking system, but Internet traffic will travel mostly across fibre as its backbone and backhaul. The customer experience will be improved by better small cell wireless access points used in 5G, but its quality and reliability will depend on the wireline (fibre) network carrying traffic to and from the 5G small cells.
The evolution of wireless networks
The new generation wireless technology was preceded by early 20th century devices developed in 1946 by Motorola and Bell System which used the Mobile Telephone Service to connect to calls. This was the first instance of a radio telephony network for commercial use and was referred to as Zero G or 0G. 0G was an analogue telecommunication which required the use of push-pull techniques to connect calls.