When news alerts started emanating about a novel coronavirus a few months back, few people could have anticipated the impact this pandemic would have on all sectors of society. By April, half the world’s population was in some form of lockdown, and this prompted significant demand on the current internet systems – a 50% increase in use in some areas.
How the COVID-19 pandemic will fast-forward the adoption of 5G technology
While the 5G network was being implemented globally before the pandemic, the increased demand in quality, reliable connectivity as people now work, study and stream content at home will see the adoption of this superior technology fast-tracked.
How COVID-19 has boosted internet use
The national lockdown has created an unprecedented increase in internet use, prompting the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to release emergency spectrum. This allows the country’s mobile operators to meet the spike in broadband services – something the 5G network is effectively built for. Here’s a look at the areas highlighting the need for 5G technology:
1. Online shopping
The call for physical distancing has seen sales in online shopping spike. With people now forced to navigate online forums for their everyday goods, it’s likely more people will continue to use this convenient feature following the lockdown period.
2. Distance studying
As a way to ease the anxiety during lockdowns, many community-minded organisations are offering free or reduced-rate online courses, putting more pressure on internet providers. Additionally, schools that are in term have started distance teaching through services such as Microsoft Team, Google Classroom and Zoom.
3. Remote working
All non-essential businesses have had to close their doors for three weeks which has forced companies to adopt remote working techniques to keep the finances flowing. Video conferencing has proven an invaluable tool, as has cloud-based storage for easy access.
4. Content streaming
This is a golden era for companies that stream content, whether it’s television shows and movies, or podcasts, people are streaming content – and this requires a superior internet service like 5G. It’s likely this trend will continue to grow.
Read more: All you need to know about the 5G network
Fast-tracking the 5G network for home use
The national lockdown, implemented from Friday, 27 March, is set to terminate on end April2020, however, the likelihood of either an extended lockdown or continued restrictions to movement will see the demand on internet continue.
Another reality for many South Africans is that the national lockdown has shown citizens that distance working and studying is actually a feasible option. This means that, even when the pandemic has passed, the 5G network capability will be a useful tool that allows remote working for many South Africans. Here are some of the ways fast-tracking the implementation of the 5G network will benefit this remote-style living:
1. Greater internet speeds
The 5G network will bring home users speed transmissions of 15 to 20 Gbps. This means someone working from home can access files and programmes remotely, engage in video conferencing and rely more on cloud for storage.
2. Lower internet latency
Latency is essentially the time lapse between you issuing an instruction to an electronic device, and the action taking place. Compared with the existing 4G network, the 5G network has a latency 10 times less, which means remote activities are almost instant. This will allow the remote working of those in logistics, transport or even the medical field.
3. Increase the number of connected devices
With more time spent in the home, the faster the Internet of Things (IoT) will become a reality which means more need for 5G. This allows for real-time information exchange, speeding up processes and making everyday living that much easier.
The implications of COVID-19 will be far-reaching across all sectors of society, but one thing the resultant lockdown has made abundantly clear is the need for high-speed internet in all communities. Trends we’re seeing – online shopping, content streaming and distance learning – are likely to continue post-lockdown, and the 5G network provides the perfect solution to this growing need for internet speed.