The big companies Rushed out 5G Wireless Data, but does it really work?
With 5G cellular data now a reality, it seems like now would be the time to really cut the cord for good. Recently my neighbor and I “cut the cord”, but it just meant we stopped paying the cable company for TV. Why people call that “cutting the cord” I don’t know. We still have a cord to bring us TV but now we pay YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Fubo, Disney and who knows who else instead of the local cable company.
The first TV ads for 5G Wireless data show phones nearly 2 gigabytes per second (GBs). Carriers are advertising cellular internet plans and internet backup over 5G. At 2 gbps, the speed is better than most home networking wired speeds. The cellular companies would love for you to get a cellular data plan for every device in the house. Going truly wireless and cutting the cord completely is now an option. Except for the real cost. Connecting home computers and printers isn’t that easy just yet.
What about WiFi Backup?
The Construction of our offices kills cellular signal the minute you walk in the door. 5G dies first, 4G works for about three feet. 20 years ago the AMPS phones worked just fine. The solution was to have all of our cell phones transfer to WiFi when we walk in the door. That works about 10% of the time. 90% of the time if I am on a call and walk in, the call drops as it transfers to WiFi.
For years we have installed cellular back up networks for clients. In others we installed bot the telephone company internet connection and the cable company connection. With a smart router the load could be balanced and if one failed, the other network got all the traffic.
Cellular backup can work the same way. We use 5G Wireless Data or “cellular” as a back up for my home solar system management and our security system. With a big enough battery, your security system and cellular backup can last hours.
It’s About Speed
First, let’s put a little perspective on speed. 4K streaming of an uncompressed raw video is about 150 MBs. So if you only had 300/300 two people could watch 4k uncompressed raw video from a professional studio shot on a cinema camera. The reality is that most 4K streaming is compressed using something like the new h.265 standard and is not raw data. Netflix advises 25MBs for 4K streaming. So why does a phone really need 2 GBs, or nearly 8 times the speed? Honestly I don’t know. We had 75/75 until a week ago and honestly can’t tell the difference.
Second think about all the times your cell signal skips, stops, and then picks up after you lost the call. Is that what you want your entire work and home life to be like? 5G is good but do you need that speed? Can you even use it at home? The equipment isn’t quite there yet, but I am sure it is arriving soon.
The July 2004 Tech Living Magazine cover said “Wired v Wireless”. On the inside I discussed the wildly fast WiFi speed of 54gbps. While that magazine is long gone, the discussion of Wired vs. Wireless continues as speed and reliability improve. I am writing this on a laptop in my office that is connected to the internet and the rest of the network connected devices via a gigabit ethernet connection. Or I am writing this on my laptop at the office connecting over WiFi? Both work just fine for every day business tasks. We don’t shoot 4K training videos most of the time. When we do the web version is called down to 720p.
Wired wins again
With the option of endlessly expandable WiFi mesh networks, single super high powered all in one WiFi routers and 5G Wireless networks, why do I still think wired is the way to go? It comes down to a couple of simple truths in the world of networking. In the ten years I have owned my current house, not once has a wired device failed to connect or had difficulties connecting as long as the ISP connection was live.
At then end of the day, no one has ever called me to ask for help with the wired network after it is connected and is working. When a wired network has an issue, it is 99% of the time the wire itself. A simple wire tester will find the problems quickly. WiFi has more questions than answers. The installation apps that come with many new WiFi routers over simplify making troubleshooting nearly impossible. I could start another business just supporting WiFi installations.
Imagine your work week without internet or network access.
About Scott Bourquin
Scott Bourquin is a tech nerd with a BS in Business Information Resource Management and a retired KC-10 instructor pilot. He hosts the CoolToys TV series on Roku and YouTube His book on networks is available on Amazon.