5G, the next generation of wireless technologies is rapidly moving beyond potential to transformational reality for enterprises in all sectors. To date, all U.S. carriers have launched some form of 5G cellular network. 5G’s lightning-fast data transmission rates, extremely low latency and high level of reliability are driving enterprise adoption of the technology.
According to the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) Intelligence’s Mobile Economy North America 2021 report, Mobile operators in North America will invest $300 billion in their networks between 2020 and 2025, of which 98% will be dedicated to 5G. The report also forecast that by the end of 2025, 5G will account for almost two-thirds of mobile connections, equivalent to nearly 270 million connections.
As the 5G infrastructure evolves, more and more enterprises will be leveraging the technology as an important part of their operations. A report developed by Economist Impact and released by NTT found that over half of companies surveyed (51%) are planning to deploy a private 5G network within the next six to 24 months.
With the increasing adoption of 5G in the enterprise, benefits of the technology will become clearer, use cases will multiply and new cybersecurity risks will emerge. As the transformational benefits of this technology accelerate the transition to a new 5G-powered era, organizations will need to be prepared to maximize 5G opportunities while preventing cyberthreats.
Benefits of 5G
The benefits of 5G make this technology a critical enabler of enterprise digital transformation. The technology revolutionizes network connectivity allowing enterprises to:
- Deploy more users on the band of spectrum, making service more cost-effective and efficient.
- Manage a higher density of devices. 5G has the capacity to connect thousands more devices than previous wireless networks. For example, 4G networks can only support a maximum of 100,000 devices per square kilometer; 5G can connect up to a million.
- Communicate faster, better and more flexibly. 5G offers network speeds that are up to 100 times faster than 4G LTE and with 5G’s extremely low latency rate, the delay between sending and receiving information drops from the 200 milliseconds for 4G, to 1 millisecond (one one-thousandth of a second) with 5G.
As 5G advances and adoption increases, a wide variety of use cases across industries will develop. The consistent, reliable connectivity provided by 5G will power new services and applications in sectors such as:
Healthcare organizations can use 5G to perform remote surgeries, support in-home patient monitoring and perform remote diagnostics. The technology can also be used to track medical devices and patient bed occupancy.
In this sector, companies are already starting to use private 5G networks to improve production by analyzing data from connected machines and other physical assets. The connected sensors embedded in the machines can also communicate how well they are functioning, allowing firms to conduct predictive/proactive maintenance to prevent breakdowns and increase equipment uptime.
With 5G technology, connected, self-driving cars will be used to deliver everything from medicine to groceries. Anti-collision systems in these cars will improve safety.
- General business
The power of 5G to provide higher-speed communication on more devices with lower latency will help organizations better support remote work at scale. 5G is an enabler of remote collaboration, allowing for glitch-free video conferencing and easy sharing of large files. The reliability of 5G connectivity can translate into increases in productivity and improvements in business performance. Research by NBER ties universal access to high-quality, fully reliable home internet service with an increase in productivity of 1.1% which could yield output gains of $160 billion per year.
With 5G adoption speeding up, concerns about cybercriminals exploiting new attack vectors emerging along with this new technology are rising. A survey of security practitioners by AT&T found that 72.5% rated their level of concern about the potential impact of 5G on security as high or medium-high with their top two concerns relating to the larger attack surface associated with the massive increase in connectivity and the greater number of devices accessing the network. The survey also revealed that 76% of these security practitioners expect new security threats to emerge as 5G becomes more established.
Ernst & Young (EY) noted that “as businesses implement the transformational benefits 5G offers, it is critical that they focus on 5G vulnerabilities and take a multilayered cybersecurity approach to protect their company and customers.”
Enterprises preparing to power their business with 5G need to proactively address the potential new threat landscape now. One of the first steps is to eliminate any shadow IT such as risky communication and collaboration apps that can open the door to cybercriminals. Providing employees with an enterprise-grade, end-to-end encrypted mobile messaging and collaboration platform provides organizations with the vital data and compliance safeguards needed now and in the 5G powered future.
With the evolution of 5G infrastructure, enterprises will increasingly discover 5G value propositions that can help drive business performance. Use cases will rapidly multiply and cybercriminals will be poised to exploit vulnerabilities.
As 5G comes of age, enterprises will need to be prepared to maximize 5G opportunities and prevent threats. NetSfere is the right mobile messaging and collaboration technology to help enterprises reap all the benefits of high-performance mobile connectivity without the cyber risk.