Private 5G networks and their ability to significantly alter in-building wireless connectivity has been a much-discussed topic within the wireless and commercial real estate industries. Questions still remain about this revolutionary technology, however, leaving businesses uncertain if they plan to use adopt private 5G as it becomes more readily available, RT Insights reports.
A recent McKinsey report on its technology trends outlook noted that 5G is a key factor among the trends that are shaping the current information technology landscape.
“Private 5G networks are a proven technology, with many players already reaping their benefits,” the McKinsey report said. “Other technologies, such as (Internet of Things) and automated guided vehicles, perform much better when using high-quality networks enabled by private 5G.”
The report recognized that the downside is every company might not find shifting from 4G LTE to private 5G cost effective. Each enterprise’s “technological aspirations and planned use cases” will likely determine if they make the upgrade.
The 5G networks’ relatively immature ecosystem is one of the risks that come with the next generation of wireless that McKinsey warns about, RT insights reports.
Availability also remains an issue. The McKinsey report noted that high-band 5G might be hard to come by for some because of the large capital investment needed to build the networks with high-quality coverage and “performance for mainstream use cases.”
Current questions surrounding private 5G deployment
With an investment as large as the one it would take to deploy a private 5G network, it’s not surprising that people would have some questions. One question in McKinsey’s report was whether 5G can completely replace 4G LTE. The report noted that businesses are already benefiting from private 5G networks and that technologies like IoT and automated guided vehicles perform better on the upgraded network. However, private 5G might not be cost-effective for everyone, so some players will have to decide if the investment is worth it.
Another question is if 5G will beat out low-power wide-area network (LPWA) for IoT applications. The report noted that businesses might choose between licensed or unlicensed cellular LPWA standards based on traditional LTE networks’ availability, RT Insights reports.
“This choice may also be critical when dealing with stationary and mobile devices,” the report said. “LPWA standards vary in terms of bandwidth, cost, power consumption, range, and other features; depending on the final use case for the player, some standards might be more appropriate than others.”
Meanwhile, McKinsey projected that industries will “find innovative use cases” as advanced connectivity becomes more readily available. Access to the capabilities 5G can provide industrial companies and customers could have a $2 trillion impact on the global gross domestic product (GDP), according to the report. This impact will largely be driven by the operational boost that four major industries will get from this enhanced connectivity—automotive and assembly; healthcare systems and services; aerospace and defense and retail.
Other industries McKinsey noted that 5G could impact included telecommunications; aviation, travel and logistics; construction and building materials; media and entertainment and oil and gas.
Click here for the full McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2022 report.