Why 5G will never spread to rural UK (and 4G is fast enough anyway)
By now, most of us have at least heard about 5G and its promises. Some tech gurus tell you that 5G is the future of connectivity – it will drive virtual reality, enable self-driving cars, allow 3D holographic video conferences, and other futuristic claims.
There might be some truth to these claims. But the bigger questions are:
- Will 5G ever cover non-urban areas?
- Do we even need 30 times the speed of 4G?
The straight answer to both these questions is a resounding 'No'. Sorry to disappoint you, but 5G isn't what it's being sold as. In the early 20th century, people predicted flying cars around cities in the 21st century. We are here now but there are no flying cars around us.
5G may not be as outrageous as flying cars, but it promises unrealistic things for sure. More importantly, 5G will never spread to the farthest corners of civilization like 4G has.
So, how far can 5G go? Let's see...............
If you've paid any attention to the smartphone market, you'd notice that 5G phones are on the rise. Almost every smartphone over the next few years will become 5G enabled. These developments point toward a future where 5G is the norm.
Unfortunately, 5G doesn't work like that. When 5G rolls out in a city, it rolls out only in the densest parts of the city. As of now, fully capable 5G solutions are only available within small areas, like a single building or complex or well populated areas
If you're thinking about why this is the case, here's the answer. For the sake of oversimplification, we can say that a 5G network needs antennas close to the devices to be able to function. The signasl distance is very short. That makes it easier to understand why 5G will never spread to rural UK, or essentially any rural area. Who's going to build hundreds of antennas all the way from the cities to the countryside? And how much space will it take? Don't jump on the 5G bandwagon before reading these questions and answers below
How does 5G work?
5G is Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) based network. Sounds confusing? Because it is.........
All wireless communication that we see today uses radio frequencies to transfer information through the air. 5G also uses radio frequencies, but at a much higher and less cluttered frequency. As a result, it can carry a lot more information in a lot less time. We call these higher frequency bands 'millimetre waves' or mm waves.
Millimetre waves can travel very fast and carry a lot of information. But there's a problem. They can't travel very far. Imagine buying a car that takes you from 0 to 100 in six seconds…and then stops. You can only travel for 6 six seconds, and then you must travel back to where you started.
5G is ridiculously fast, but what will you do with speed if it doesn't cover the distance? We can't expect people to live and work in urban apartments just to get the benefits of 5G speed. Moreover, expanding 5G isn't a sustainable model considering how much money and physical space it's going to take up. It's only worth installing in very well populated areas.
All these factors beg us to question: is 5G even feasible in the near future? Or even the far future? The most probable answer is no, it isn't.Not in the counrtyside, it's never going to happen
5G integration with 4G: A more realistic model
It's much more realistic to picture a future where 5G and 4G networks co-exist. 5G networks can work on 4G infrastructure, and that's the only saving grace for the future of widespread 5G adoption. The Network Device will connect to both the 4G network and the 5G network after a 5G connection has been made. It links to the 4G network in order to give control signalling and to the 5G network in order to expand the 4G network's capacity and help deliver rapid data connection.
The data is transmitted across the 4G network, maintaining a constant connection, in areas with patchy 5G coverage. In essence, the 5G network is a supplement to the current 4G network with this architecture.
But does this mean 5G will reach areas of rural UK in the coming years? Of course not. Here's why:
The 5G architecture is designed to work using 4G infrastructure with the help of macro cells, micro cells, and special systems inside buildings. In essence, micro cells act as base stations to provide 5G coverage to a small area (10 meters to 100 meters). Since the mm wave frequencies can't travel a long distance, these micro cells amplify the signal to maintain the speed.
Initial 5G frequency bands are below 6 GHz and are comparable to existing mobile and Wi-Fi networks in several nations. In comparison to present mobile applications, additional mobile spectrum over 6 GHz, particularly the 26-28 GHz bands (millimetre wave), will offer much more bandwidth. More users, additional data, and faster connections are possible through 5G. It is also anticipated that existing low-band spectrum will be reused in the future for 5G as the demand for legacy networks declines.
While there's a lot of hope and promise regarding the future of 5G, there's also widespread apprehension that much of it is inflated. And this isn't the first time we are inflating the potential of technology. Yes, technology today is more capable than we could have ever imagined. But it is capable in different ways, not in the ways we expected or envisioned. The same thing happening to 5G is the most likely scenario. 5G will surely play an important role in the future of communication, but at the same time, it'll not be in the way we envision it to be.
5G integration with 4G will extend the use cases of 5G. More importantly, this architecture proves that 4G isn't going away anytime soon. Even if we come up with small 5G clusters in big cities, 4G is going to rule everywhere else.
Overall, there are many reasons to not be confident in the future of 5G. That might sound somewhat pessimistic, but data and the way 5G works force us to think otherwise.
Is 4G enough for you?
If we take into account everything we need in our day-to-day lives, we will quickly come to the conclusion that 4G speed is enough for everyone. Unless you are working on a high-tech Google or NASA project, you won't need 5G at all.
Consider our daily internet uses. We wake up in the morning and check out smartphones. Then we bang some music or stream some video. If you work remotely, you will log into Asana, Trello, Slack, or your company's workspace. You may use some coding tools, video editing tools, and other SaaS tools.
For which of these tasks do you need 20 Gbps speed? Or even 1 Gbps speed? Realistically, none of them - ever.
Even if you are living in the heart of London where huge 5G networks are available, would you be willing to spend a lot of extra money to get ridiculously high internet speed? Many people would, but they'll also stop once they realize that it's not adding much value to their lives.
When paired with a 4G signal booster, the present 4G infrastructure is more than enough for everyone (except those guys and CERN and NASA). 5G is more of a novelty, a demonstration of what technology is capable of.
The importance of 4G for caravans, motorhomes, and rural UK
Let's imagine a hypothetical future where we somehow manage to put 5G infrastructure all over the major cities. Sure enough, everyone living there would be using the 5G network for their day-to-day activities. However, this doesn't take into account the needs of people living in caravans and motorhomes. Essentially, it doesn't take into account anyone who doesn't live in one place for an extended period of time.
Now if you are someone who's always on the move, 4G networks are your lifesaver. They reach everywhere and provide amazing internet speed. Nonetheless, even 4G networks can sometimes be slow for people who are always travelling from one place to another.
Here's what you can do to solve that problem: use a Kuma 4G CONNECT Wi-Fi booster. Just plug in a sim card to your Kuma CONNECT Pro or Kuma CONNECT PLAY. E-Zi or STiK, and you're good to go. A reliable 4G LTE booster solution, the Kuma CONNECT range includes a powerful router and 5 antenna configurations to support any application. The Kuma CONNECT system, which is robust and easy to set up, quickly and reliably connects up to 32 Wi-Fi devices to the internet.
The best part about it is the fact that you use any SIM card and can be anywhere on the earth, and Kuma will still give you amazing internet speeds. 5G might be fast (and super cool), but it doesn't support the practical needs of people who are always on the move.
With Kuma, internet for caravans and motorhomes has never been better. It's a revolutionary technology for anyone who travels or lives in places where the internet connection is poor. Guess what, you can't get anything like this for 5G networks that works reliably at a reasonable price.
5G vs 4G: Important things to consider
It's important to understand how radio waves work to understand the difference between 5G and 4G. Radio waves can only carry a limited amount of information on a frequency band. If the amount of information increases, the speed gradually decreases. 5G solves this problem by increasing the information load we can transmit over a specific frequency band.
If you've used a 4G device in a crowded place (like a stadium or concert), you must have noticed how it impacts the speed of the connection. 5G can connect as many as 1 million devices within a square kilometre area. That means each device continues to enjoy high internet speed despite the presence of other devices on the same network.
This particular benefit of 5G is useful for places where there's high traffic of mobile users. But it isn't of much help in sparsely populated areas, like rural parts of a country.
Another difference between 5G and 4G relates to the kind of devices they support. 4G is a predominantly cellular network, that is, it's designed to handle smartphones and computers. 5G is essentially designed for cloud-based applications and AR/VR devices. It's obvious that you'll need high data transfer speed to have an immersive AR experience. That isn't possible with 4G. The rise of 5G coincides with the rise of AR/VR technologies.
Here again, we must ask ourselves how much impact AR/VR is going to play in our lives. Do you picture yourself wearing VR headsets and living in virtual worlds 24/7? Most people don't, at least not yet. There are also giant question marks on what's the true potential of AR/VR headsets and virtual environments. At present, it's a high-end tech reserved for people who want to experience something for the sake of its novelty. If you're using VR on a campsite, may we suggest you find a better one.
5G and virtual worlds -- The actual use case of 5G
The true use case of 5G is for virtual worlds and advanced cloud-based applications. Unless there's a massive shift in how people interact with each other, virtual and augmented reality will continue to be niche technologies with limited users.
As far as regular tasks are concerned, we'll continue to use 4G for a long time. With the advent of Wi-Fi mobile routers and Wi-Fi booster kits, 4G speeds are better than ever, even in rural places. 5G is designed for advanced tasks like 3D holographic video calls and virtual reality games. But most people won't need these features any time soon, making 4G the network of choice for the majority of the global population.
On a more practical front, 4G is cheaper and easily accessible. Today, we have a wide range of Wi-Fi accessories that provide powerful 4G networks in rural and distant areas. It'll never be the same for 5G networks since the 5G infrastructure doesn't support wireless boosters far away from the main antennas and transmitters. It's niche and niche usually costs.
Realistically, 5G is never going to be a widespread network for everyone. It'll be reserved for special use cases within limited areas.
How to get better 4G speed to cover all your needs
By now, you must have understood two things:
- 5G isn't going to be everyone
- We'll continue using 4G in the foreseeable future
Given these facts, the question now is how to make 4G networks better, especially for people living in rural regions, caravans, or motorhomes.
Firstly, 4G infrastructure will improve going forward since the same infrastructure also supports 5G networks. We can expect a significant increase in 4G coverage in rural UK over the coming years. However, this isn't something that individuals can control or determine.
For individual homes and caravans, 4G signal booster devices are the best bet to increase internet speed. For example, you can use a Kuma 4G CONNECT Wi-Fi booster to instantly boost both internet speed and coverage wherever you want. Similarly, you can use a 4G antenna boat system to further increase the coverage of your Wi-Fi device - again the KUMA 4G CONNECT systems works fine on canal boats or coastal applications
The 4G booster market is growing exponentially, and unlike 5G, it has real use cases for the average person. If you simply want to get your work done without lags and delays, 4G boosters are going to be a life-changer. More importantly, Wi-Fi accessories are widely available and can be carried anywhere.
If you have sufficient 4G speed, you won't ever feel the need for something like 5G. A Kuma 4G motorhome wifi or caravan system is capable of delivering stellar internet speed even when you're on the move. The adaptability and reach of 4G networks make them more practical for most people living in non-urban places.
Conclusion: Do you even need 5G?
To sum up everything we've discussed till now, here are some crucial points:
- 5G is capable of delivering stellar speed. However, it also has many restrictions. The primary problem with 5G is that it can't reach beyond a certain distance due to infrastructural challenges.
- The only way to take 5G to rural UK is to build massive infrastructure. While it's theoretically possible, it's not likely to happen. The physical infrastructure needed to take 5G to every part of the rural UK isn't sustainable or financially feasible.
- 5G has specific use cases, particularly in virtual worlds and cloud-based applications. Compared to that, 4G is used universally for everything.
- With devices like the Kuma 4G internet Wi-Fi booster, anyone can enjoy high-speed 4G internet, be it in a caravan or a motorhome. 5G doesn't accommodate the needs of people who are always on the move.
- While 5G is useful for some people, most people don't need speeds of up to 20 Gbps for their daily tasks.
Our argument is simple -- you don't need 5G for your regular tasks. On top of that, 5G isn't going to be available in the rural UK anytime soon. 5G doesn't support Wi-Fi boosters and similar devices, making it useless for travellers and wanderers. (If you've got this far, that's probably you :))
Your 4G network is capable of more than you think. With indoor 4G signal boosters, anyone can enjoy a high-speed 4G network no matter where they are. It's safe to say that 4G is both the present and future of cellular networks.