5G: A Revolution for Construction Connectivity
September 10, 2019

A few years ago, 4G was the next big thing. It claimed to deliver speeds 10x faster than 3G, with a 6 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload time. It served to resolve the network congestion and speed issues that came with 3G, but now we’re on the cusp of another evolution: 5G.

5G: What is It?

We’re not talking about the 5GHz Wi-Fi you can get in your home, and we’re not talking about 5G E either. (This article explains the differences between 5G, 5G E, and 5GHz.) We’re talking about 5G cellular connections.

5G networks provide a leg up over 4G by leveraging newer and far less utilized radio millimeter bands. These networks claim to:

  • Improve bandwidth, capacity, and reliability of cellular broadband performance
  • Reduce latency currently experienced with 4G

In fact, 5G is expected to be faster than 4G latency anywhere in the 60 to 120 times improved range. The trouble is that this technology is still living in a lab setting. Its predicted performance versus the actual output remains to be seen.

If theoretical application transfers over to real-life use, 5G is expected to deliver:

  • Rapid response times (less than 1 millisecond) ideal for time-sensitive tools like remote vehicle control
  • Speeds somewhere in the 30 to 300 GHz range. Currently, 4G delivers somewhere around 6 GHz
  • Speeds needed to bolster the effective use of IoT devices, intervehicle communications, wearables, Augmented/Virtual/Mixed realities, cloud data storage, and more

IoT and the 5G Jobsite

The Internet of Things has tremendous potential for the construction jobsite. A blanket term that covers anything from simple sensors to complex wearable technology, IoT is limited in ability by the speed of its connections. Long delays between the device and the receiver reduce the speed with which these tools are implemented on-site.

Why invest in something that doesn’t deliver as instantaneously as it claims to? Should 5G network connectivity be as great as it sounds, this could dramatically increase the implementation and rapid adoption of these devices on the jobsite.

5G: The Holy Grail for Construction Connectivity?

We’re excited for the possible implications this will have for remote connectivity on the construction jobsite, but many questions still remain:

  • What will these new speeds cost?
  • What kind of coverage will they have? How long will it take for that to expand?
  • What is the potential output versus actual speed delivery?

Despite these questions, 5G offers the potential for incredible jobsite connectivity applications:

  1. More efficient streaming data allows for multiple inputs and outputs making data upload and sharing faster than before. Real-time data will actually mean real-time data.
  2. Wireless infrastructure upgrades produce more resilient, reliable connections that won’t drop off or disappear without notice.
  3. Lower latency times mean better responsiveness for hands-on applications. Track your fleets reliably and manage your AR/VR/MR devices knowing that you’ll be getting the most from your tech while using them.
  4. More bandwidth means more mobile connections (up to 3 million more).
  5. 5G uses GaN devices, which withstand high-frequency switches, high voltages, and high temperatures. This is handy in construction settings where hot summer days or different projects may require quick changes to how the connections function.

Find a connectivity specialist for your jobsite Wi-Fi. All that tech you’re using can’t function without the best connection.


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