How the rise of 5G will disrupt cloud computing as we know it

The rollout of 5G has begun in earnest. Verizon and other US carriers have already unveiled the tech and its groundbreaking speeds in a few key markets, and across the pond in the UK, some major carriers are widely expected to deploy 5G later this summer. Many expect 5G to be equally as disruptive – if not more so – than cloud computing has been over the past few years.

cloud computing

All of this raises questions when it comes to the cloud. How will 5G’s breakneck mobile speeds affect cloud computing and many of the most common applications of it? What are examples of the cloud – and technology more generally – that 5G will markedly improve versus those it may render obsolete?

Why 5G is such a big deal

Before we dive too deeply into how 5G will affect the cloud, it will be useful to have at least a layman’s understanding of what 5G actually is and how it works. Like the network standards before it, 5G employs radio frequency (RF) waves to transmit and receive data. The minimum speeds a network must provide to both downloading and uploading for it to be classified as 5G are 20 Gbps per second down and 10 Gbps up. For comparison’s sake, the minimum download and upload speeds for the first iteration of 4G were 150 and 15 megabits, respectively.

As big of an increase as these speeds represent, 5G also presents an equally groundbreaking decrease in latency. Latency is the time it takes for two devices on a network to respond to one another. 3G networks had latency of about 100 milliseconds; 4G is around 30 milliseconds; while 5G will be as low as 1 millisecond, which is for all intents and purposes instantaneous.

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