5G: The Rundown for Broadband Providers

By now, you are most likely used to seeing “4G” in the top corner of your smartphone’s screen. 4G, the fourth generation of mobile internet technology, changed the way we use our phones forever. The apps that have been created for 4G are smart and incredible; we never could have imagined the capabilities they have. However, 4G has been around for several years now, and it is nearly time for something newer, stronger, and faster.

5G is a next generation mobile internet technology that promises to deliver faster download speeds, better connections, and wider coverage. 5G offers three major upgrades to its predecessor, 4G: minimal delay (low latency), long battery life, and high speeds. 4G downloads can reach 50 megabits per second, while 5G is able to operate at speeds that are 100 times faster (some sources say 1,000 times faster). No one knows what new companies and services 5G will inspire, just as no one could predict the amazing applications of 4G, such as Lyft and Snapchat.

The Race to 5G

The first 5G-ready smartphones won’t arrive until next year. This year’s efforts will be a mix of portable hotspots and fixed wireless—that is, using cellular networks to offer an alternative to wires for home broadband. The four major US carriers all plan to offer 5G mobile service in the first half of 2019, but they’re all taking a different approach.

AT&T is offering 5G-powered mobile hotspots in a dozen cities this year. Verizon plans 5G services in at least 5 cities this year (not for mobile phones, but for fixed wireless). Sprint is working on rolling out smartphone service in 9 US cities, and they are hoping to take advantage of some unique airwaves they own. Finally, T-Mobile plans to offer 5G smartphone service next year to customers in four major cities. By 2021, T-Mobile plans to provide speeds in excess of 100Mbit/s to two-thirds of the US population.

All of these companies are racing against each other as well as racing against other countries. Right now, there is a three-way game among the United States, China, and South Korea to get 5G networks up and running first. It seems that the U.S. will be first with 5G in a few places, but China will be first to bring 5G to everybody. The U.K. should certainly not be ignored either; Vodafone recently conducted a live holographic call using 5G. In addition to trying to be first, there is a fight over who will provide the technology to power the networks. The U.S. has security concerns about China and will not allow Huawei to provide gear to major US telecom firms.

Timeline

Gartner, Inc. developed a tool called the Hype Cycle to help understand how particular technologies are regarded in terms of the reality of expectations as compared to how the technology is used over time. The hype cycle consists of five phases: the technology trigger, the peak of inflated expectations, the trough of disillusionment, the slope of enlightenment, and the plateau of productivity. 5G, according to Qualcomm Director of Product Marketing Sherif Hanna, is slightly past peak hype and we are on the way to the trough of disillusionment.

Hanna explained that there is some backlash due to the extreme hype around 5G. Some people are almost having an allergic reaction to it, saying 5G is all hype and no substance whatsoever. Hanna disagrees, but the critics make a valid point. 5G has not been substantiated yet, but everyone—including the government—is already so invested. The real question here is this: what is the timeline for 5G between where we are and the slope of enlightenment?

Although the four major carriers plan to offer 5G mobile service in the first half of next year, it will be a long time before 5G coverage is ubiquitous. By mid-2019, Sprint is promising always-connected 5G PCs on its network. By 2020-21, 5G will be delivering Internet of Things upgrades, supporting connected cars and other IoT devices. Deployment on cell towers has already begun. Deployment in urban areas is in the works. Application adoption will come last, most likely in a few years. While 5G will be impressive, it is far away from being available to consumers and we should keep that in perspective.

5G and Broadband Providers

According to analysts for Light Reading, 5G is soon to become the “largest existential threat” to broadband providers. Speedy fixed 5G services are going to take money from cable broadband. For example, T-Mobile plans to capture 10 million broadband subs by 2024, largely targeting cable’s footprint. Cable companies have historically refrained from competing against each other, so many US cities have just one provider. Comcast and Charter together provide broadband service to 68 million Americans. 5G will threaten their market share.

5G and IoT

4G helped launch the app revolution, and 5G will carry the torch. It will not only enrich experiences for existing applications but also enable new Internet of Things (IoT) use cases. 5G will mean faster data on phones but will also pave the way for billions of connected IoT devices. Applications built on underlying technologies such as augmented reality, VR, and AI will benefit from massive data pipes and ultra-low latency.

It is important to note that there are security concerns with the plethora of IoT devices that will run on 5G. There are already existing security concerns with current IoT devices because their creators favor low prices over strong security, making them easy picking for hackers. Today people secure these devices by buying additional products to monitor home-network traffic, but with 5G, many more devices will bypass that network and connect directly to the Internet. The issue isn’t one hacked IoT device, but the millions of controllable hijacked devices.

In many ways, 5G will make life easier and more convenient. One major benefit of 5G networks will be the use of delivery drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). People will be able to place their online orders from their mobile devices, pay less for shipping, and acquire their goods quickly, securely, and for a low cost. Drones already exist, but 5G will help coordinate large fleets of them, allowing them to fly safely and automatically avoid collisions with high buildings and other UAVs.

If you’re picturing the drones flying through a city, you are correct. There will still be limited access to rural areas due to limited 5G offerings. Many people are claiming that 5G will help close the Digital Divide in America. However, rural areas that currently have subpar broadband will most likely continue down that path. It simply costs too much in the eyes of the companies pushing 5G to build out all of this fiber infrastructure needed for 5G in rural America. Today approximately 24% of rural Americans are on the wrong side of the digital divide, and it will likely be a very long time before this is remedied.

5G’s First Adopters

5G’s first adopters will undoubtedly be heavy industries and not consumer brands. They will use 5G for its Internet of Things applications. Oil fields, for example, plan to use the technology to boost their collection of data from sensors. Industrial automation will benefit the most, at least in the beginning. Consumer applications, which will come later, will drive the majority of the bandwidth with video and gaming.

Mobile browsing is great these days, but surfing the web without a Wi-Fi connection leaves much to be desired. For example, it’s really hard to play Fortnite Mobile using a data plan. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr explained how 5G will essentially eliminate the need to be connected to Wi-Fi. This shift has massive ramifications for information accessibility, telecoms, telehealth, and, of course, mobile gaming. Carr went on to say, “They should be branding it as 5G, The Fortnite Network.” Certain Fortnite updates have been over 1GB and could take hours to download on 4G. At 10 Gbps, these updates could be downloaded in a minute and a half. 5G gives users the speed of wired, fiber-optic internet connections, minus the cords.

Gaming may not be your thing, but some form of streaming video probably is. Netflix streaming will be like never before, and you will have access to extremely high quality video conferencing. Surgeons could even operate remotely over the internet. 5G will make all of our devices smarter, but can it make our cities smarter too?

 Experts say that 5G networks will jumpstart the smart cities movement, which is aimed at making cities more sustainable and efficient. The vision for 5G is to enable cities to combine data and devices to reduce traffic, energy, improve communications, protect neighborhoods, and save time and money.

However, “5G and smart cities can only become a reality for all Americans if there is enough fiber infrastructure to support them,” wrote Lisa Youngers, CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. This is true. In order to get the 5G, your devices still have to connect to a wired network; when they connect to the cell tower, the tower is connected to a landline network. The little antenna might be broadcasting, but when the signal comes back there’s a wire behind it.

5G is not comprised of a standalone new technology. Its disruptive nature comes from its ability to aggregate the power of new and existing networks, mobile, fixed, and wireless to create flexibility. Nearly all of the communication through 5G will still travel fiber in the ground or underwater. Only the very last part of the connection—from the handset to the tower—will be wireless. 4G and 5G cannot exist without the fiber that empowers them. Are you building services to support the towers that support 5G? You must in order to meet the demand of underlying connectivity for 5G. Ronin can help you plan, build, and run these services. Give us a call today at (303)-678-1844 or email us at hello@roninpbr.com.

 

Digital Transformation: The Secret For Service Providers

Digital Transformation matters because larger service providers are already making the shift. They have significant capital and will be able to provide a full suite of services to your customers and make your business relevant. New technologies such as 5G and SDWAN will enable providers to reach customers within your service area. These providers have complete wireless and wireline offerings: Internet, voice, video, and wireless—all integrated and working together seamlessly.

Digital transformation isn’t just about investing capital into software platforms and automation., but it’s also about enabling human capital. Here’s a checklist of things to consider:

Work smarter, not harder
– For new requests, do you have a standard offering or is it all ICB?
– How are you measuring your sales, marketing, and support?
– Do you use a CRM like salesforce? How many groups within the company use it?
Focus on the customer
– Do you differentiate your business and residential brands? If so, how? (support, services, pricing?)
– Do you have different service offerings for different types of customers?
– Have you created different marketing messages or branding for customer types?
Innovate
– When was the last time you rolled out a new product? (changing pricing doesn’t count)
– What services are you developing in the coming year?
– What new markets can you expand into?

Some additional links on Digital Transformation:
Examples of companies that are succeeding at Digital Transformation
Digital transformation doesn’t break the bank

Are you looking for help in your business? Give us a shout 303.678.1844 or drop us a note hello@roninpbr.com

Broadband is a Necessity for EconDev

A robust broadband infrastructure is a compelling differentiator for economic development teams. Today’s business applications require high-speed connectivity including Internet access and services supported by a fiber network.

Communities with good broadband infrastructure can support traditional office workers as well as digital workers. Digital workers are employees that work from home and require services like high-speed internet access and unified communications to carry out their jobs. You want these digital workers in your community for economic development; 75% of employees who work from home earn over $65,000 a year, meaning they make more and spend more than the average office worker.

Fast wi-fi allows for telehealth, or meeting with a doctor remotely from your home, as well as improves education due to distance learning. Distance learning allows students to take classes all over the world and go on virtual field trips. Much of the homework students receive today requires an internet connection as well.

So compelling is the web as a business resource that modern commerce simply cannot function without it. Not only will companies find themselves at a competitive disadvantage without broadband, but communities that fail to invest in their digital infrastructure may discover that their economic development initiatives are destined for a similar fate.

Are you looking to develop a plan for creating broadband infrastructure in your community? Give us a call at 303.678.1844 or email hello@roninpbr.com.

The Importance of Broadband and Telehealth

The FCC’s Connect2Health Task Force recently released an interactive map of the country which maps broadband and health across the states. The data is revealing and shows how reliable broadband impacts healthcare through things like telehealth, which is on the rise. Telehealth applications are a major driver for broadband adoption. It’s mentioned and as point of discussion in the CVS / Aetna merger talks as well as a key reason for municipal broadband.

To be effective, it’s important to dig further into the details on what it will take to implement these telehealth services. For patients using the applications at home, there must be a secure service that allows residents to do so. Most likely, this would require HD voice and video conferencing, which means there should be a minimum of 50Mbps or more—this is 2x the speed of the minimum FCC requirement for broadband.

 Regional health clinics and hospitals need a secure, high capacity service that can connect them to larger healthcare systems and headquarters as well as their patients. In order to do this, they need a broadband speed of 100Mbps or more.

 Finally, the broadband and services must be reliable which means the end user (patient or healthcare provider) needs a consistent user experience with clearly defined SLA’s.

 This is where Ronin Technology Advisors can help. Give us a call today (303-678-1844) and let’s discuss how we can help you develop and deliver the services your communities need.

So Your Community Wants Broadband. What’s Next?

A project team in a community needs to develop a strategic plan for broadband as they would any other critical utility. Without a defined plan, the community’s connectivity will be driven by the incumbents and how they perceive the network should grow. A community focused plan should be based on the service requirements for residential, commercial, and Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs).

Instead of focusing on something like healthcare delivery first and then other goals over time, communities should take into account multiple goals because the service set is the same. If you look at City/County government, K-12 schools, higher ed (branch locations) and healthcare they all have a need to connect their locations for data exchange.  The same fiber network or broadband infrastructure can support a standard service to connect these different organizations. By taking into account the connectivity demands of these CAI’s, a community can develop a business plan that delivers a faster ROI.

In the current political climate, it’s difficult to determine what public funds will be available, but there are always private investment dollars. This is where the strategic broadband plan comes into place. If a community can outline the long-term broadband goals and capabilities the community needs, then they are in a much better position for 3P arrangements, as well as getting incumbent providers to upgrade their existing services.   

If you need help developing a broadband plan or public private partnership (3P), give us a call today! 303.678.1844

11 Positive Impacts 5G Will Have On Business

5G remains a work in progress, but it’s getting closer to completion. Some are forecasting the network’s arrival as soon as 2020. The functionality of the system, once operational, will be remarkable, far outstripping speeds of previous networks. Forbes recently outlined 11 ways 5G will aid your business:

1. Older Tech Will Become More Mainstream

5G will directly enable 4G to be widely adopted across the globe and especially hitting developing countries, which will be great for SaaS companies that offer products built for small businesses.

2. There Will Be More Face-To-Face, Real-Time Virtual Interactions With Our Customers

On the business development front, there will be new ways to virtually meet with clients, prospects, and providers. It could also help distribute powerful, original video content for training employees.

3. 5G Parameters Portend Greater Branch Synergy

As a company reliant on cloud-based services for seamless data transfer between member branches and partners, faster connectivity and lower latency translates to increased productivity.

4. Everything Will Be More Connected and Efficient

With faster data speeds, low latency, and a more connected world, business will become more efficient than ever before once 5G is a reality.

5. More People Will Move to Cloud-Based Software

Faster internet speeds lower the cost of innovation. We’ll see more people move from downloaded accounting software to cloud-based applications.

6. Better Video Conferences Mean Happier Remote Staff

With multiplied bandwidth, significant improvements in latency, and MIMO technologies, we should see the quality of service in video conferences improve as well. This means happier remote workers, less value in co-location of teams, and much better remote learning.

7. 5G Will Bring About Changes In The Way Media Is Consumed

Our business will see increased consumption of more video and higher-quality image content, our mobile applications will increase in complexity and sophistication, and our customers will ultimately be a part of a more immersive interactive experience.

8. Network Will Make Remote Events Easier

Hosting company SiteGround was able to have a three-day team meet up high in mountains thanks to 4G. Now with 5G, we can organize even more remote events.

9. CEOs Can Recruit The Best Talent, No Matter Where They Live

5G removes barriers, so employees can effectively work anywhere. This offers a huge opportunity to hire the best talent no matter where they are located, and it allows companies to build and maintain offices in attractive regions.

10. It Will Be a Boon For The IoT Industry

Embedded chips will provide real-time information on where a package is at all times. Retailers could implement predictive shipping and route packages en route. Assembly lines, shipping, and order management systems would communicate with one another to reduce the need for inventory planners.

11. Speed Will Help Push Toward Distributed AI

5G will allow better integration of users with all systems, simply because the connections are so much faster. 5G will open as many doors for AI as 4G/LTE did for video on mobile.

The Rundown On 5G

Mobile carriers will use 5G to gain business customers in your service area.  It’s time to create a plan to design services that delight your customers and exceed their expectations.  We can help! Give us a call 303-678-1844 or drop us a note at hello@roninpbr.com.

 

The MDU market is a $8.3B opportunity. Is your service offering ready?

Multiple-Dwelling Units (MDUs) such as apartment buildings and condos can help you add thousands of customers. They present the perfect opportunity for providers because MDU inhabitants make up over 18% of potential subscribers. 80% of MDU residents rate fast broadband internet as being more important than in-unit washers and dryers, and their habits are largely digital.

Cord cutting, disconnecting from cable/satellite to pursue solely streaming options, is growing at an exponential rate. As of 2016, half of US consumers subscribe to a paid streaming video service, and 1 in 7 Americans is a cord cutter. With over 130 available streaming services, streaming video must be part of your service set.

Working from home or telecommuting is on the rise as well. As of June 2017, 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time. Additionally, regular work-at-home among the non self-employed population has grown by 115% since 2005, nearly 10x faster than the rest of the workforce.

You need a connectivity service that is geared towards this cord cutting, working from home market. The service set should include UCaaS and high speed internet. Furthermore, you should be looking for value added services to layer onto the connection, such as desktop as a service, office 365, security, and storage.

Are you looking for help developing and launching services to go after this market? Give us a call 304.678.1844 or drop us a note hello@roninpbr.com 

Why Broadband Matters For Site Selection

When it comes to site selection, utility service is heavily scrutinized. Locations are routinely eliminated due to issues with lack of electricity, gas, water, etc. Now that technology has become so advanced, the Internet is extremely important to economic development and site selection. Broadband is now considered by many to be a utility.

Broadband service connects businesses and individuals to the global marketplace. It has become an essential quality-of-life amenity for many. Broadband allows for a more flexible lifestyle by providing greater access to education through distance learning programs or remote employment.

Corporate site selectors expect broadband as it is a critical piece of infrastructure for attracting new capital investment. Locations with inadequate connectivity are quickly passed over for projects requiring broadband. Merely having broadband likely places a location on a level playing field with other communities.

Speedmatters.org says that for each $5 billion in new broadband investment, 250,000 jobs are created. The statistics no longer suggest, but indisputably assert, that high-speed Internet has become a key economic development tool and private sector job creation vehicle.

So compelling is the web as a business resource that modern commerce simply cannot function without it. Not only will companies find themselves at a competitive disadvantage, but communities that fail to invest in their communications infrastructure may discover that their economic development initiatives are destined for a similar fate.

Want to talk about this further? Give us a call at 303.678.1844 or email hello@roninpbr.com

The Internet Pipes Are Going To Burst

A network that can’t scale is like drinking a milkshake through a coffee straw; the milkshake keeps bigger and thicker with more toppings. So the question is, how are you building your straw?

 If you’re looking to get great value from your network, building for scalability is critical. It’s not enough to build a network which minimally meets the needs of consumers in 2017; the networks need room to expand so they can accommodate more services and greater speeds down the road.

Drivers such as video streaming, the IoT, and VR alike will cause this need for network expansion. According to Cisco, by 2021 there will be 4.8B total connected devices, or 12.9 connected devices per capita in North America. Across global IP networks, there will be 3.3 Zettabytes of data. Networks that aren’t scalable simply cannot support this, and the customers will look for other options.

Virtual Reality is one of the major drivers of broadband usage, and the goal of VR is to generate a digital experience at the full spectrum of human perception—to recreate every photon your eyes would see, every vibration your ears would hear, and so on. This is a pretty incredible feat considering humans can process an equivalent of nearly 5.2 gigabits per second of sound and light—200x what the FCC predicts to be the future requirement for broadband networks (25Mbps). Our bandwidth milkshake is about to burst our existing network straw.

Contact us today to talk about positioning your network for the future.

Call 303.678.1844 or drop us an email at hello@roninpbr.com

Internet Usage Stats & Increasing Network Demands Infographic

Top 10 Milkshake Flavor Combos