IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

The Impact of 5G on Cloud Services

5G will require more data and workloads to be cloud-based, accelerating adoption of cloud services and broadly redefining operations for many businesses. By Mark Kirstein

THE GLOBAL DEPLOYMENT of the 5G mobile network, which will allow faster upload and download speeds, colossal bandwidth, and reduced latency, has been a decade in the making. Many have eagerly anticipated the enhanced speed and performance, but what's less understood is the magnitude of improvement 5G will deliver and the impact it is likely to have on our world.

For a network to be classified as 5G, it must provide a minimum of 20 Gbps for downloads and 10 Gbps for uploads. By contrast, the first iteration of 4G technology had a minimum download and upload speed of 150MB and 15MB, respectively. This massive increase in speed also comes with a remarkable decrease in latency.

At the same time, 5G’s speed and network performance require a substantial amount of data to be collected and a tremendous amount of computing power. As such, the arrival of 5G will broadly redefine operations for many businesses, as it will call for more data and workloads to be cloud-based, accelerating the adoption of cloud services and engendering late adopters to finally embrace the cloud.

Here are five predictions about the expected impact of 5G on cloud services:

  1. 5G will enhance digital connectivity around the globe. This will be especially true in developing countries where a lack of widespread internet infrastructure has limited connectivity to date. Put simply, 5G has the potential to level the playing field worldwide with wireless access to information and the digital economy that is cloud-based.
  2. 5G connections will improve the performance of current innovations such as wearable technology and other devices that have historically relied on syncing with larger devices, given their limited internal storage capacity. With the benefit of 5G’s ultra-low latency, these devices will evolve to operate independently, syncing with the cloud in real time. Cloud-based apps will also see a spike in innovation, especially those currently offering a scaled-down version of their full potential to account for today’s slower network performance.
  3. Cloud service providers will evolve their offerings, reach new customers, and make new investments in cloud technology. They will innovate and offer more features to mobile users, and hotspots will become faster, allowing remote workers access to cloud services even where internet connectivity is lacking. Early evidence of this is the 2019 announcements of Microsoft’s partnership with AT&T around Azure, and Amazon Web Services’ partnership with Verizon, both to advance 5G innovation.
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