5G and the smart home



Mobile internet is soon to embrace a faster more efficient era, with 5G set to roll out in major Australian metropolitan centres over the next 12 months.

5G is likely to have a number of positive implications for the smart home, boosting appliance adoption, increasing security, and providing an alternative to fixed wireless internet.

So, let’s take a deep dive into 5G and look at how it may affect the smart home.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of cellular network communications, which means this is the type of internet you access on your smart phone.

It supersedes 4G, 3G, and 2G and is set to offer increased download speeds, faster data transfer and less latency for mobile network users.

As a little bit of history, cellular networks first became a reality in the 1980s. At that time they were analogue and were able to transmit voice phone calls.

In the 1990s, cellular became digital allowing data to also be transferred. This incarnation of the cellular network was known as 2G, and allowed for text messaging and pictures.

In the 00s, networks were upgraded to 3G, enabling video calling and data transfer. Then about 10 years ago, 4G became the norm, offering video streaming and gaming capability on your smart phone.

Now, 5G is set to take mobile internet to a whole new level.

The 5G advantage

5G will offer a series of major advantages over its predecessor which will have large implications for the Internet of Things. It is also likely to fuel the development of things like driverless cars, and automated machinery.

So here’s an insight into what it offers…

5G is fast

5G is tipped to have a potential speed of up to 20Gbps. The likelihood is in real-world scenarios that download speed will be more akin to somewhere between 1Gbps and 10Gbps, but that’s still very fast.

As a quick comparison, 4G+ operates at about 300Mbps, and for a little context, that means using 4G+, you can download a full HD film in about 2.5 minutes. With 5G, that’s more likely to take between seven and 40 seconds.

Less latency

Latency is the time it takes for data to be sent from a device to the network and back again.

It manifests as a lag that is particularly evident when doing things like video calling. If there are pauses and you tend to talk over the top of each other during a video call, that’s latency at play.

Latency is also evident in gaming. So, if you’re trying to hit a moving target, it may have shifted and you completely miss it by the time you take the shot.

5G looks set to eradicate a lot of that delay, reducing latency by up to 50 times compared to 4G.

More devices

5G is also set to offer a lot more space for a lot more devices to be connected. This is particularly important at a time when the Internet of Things is rapidly expanding.

Now, more sensors, activators, items and devices will be able to be accommodated without greatly impacting the speed of the mobile internet.

How would it affect the smart home?

5G looks set to impact smart home adoption and living in a series of ways. Firstly, and importantly in Australia, 5G will offer a viable alternative to fixed internet access. At the moment the NBN is rolling out across the nation, but there remain remote communities and regions that will not be able to access it.

Instead, they may have access to 5G, which means they too have the potential to embrace smart home living.

Other major benefits will be seen in areas like video streaming, smart home security and augmented or virtual reality.

At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, research firm Gartner noted consumer spending on connected home devices was likely to rise 18 per cent in 2018 compared to the year prior, with a total of $189 million predicted to be spent.

They also talked of the impact of 5G, noting 5G may be adopted as an alternative to fixed wireless for those users who may get better — faster, more efficient, less latency— broadband via 5G than their current fixed access.

They also anticipated households would “use 5G primarily for video and for security and surveillance cameras installed by homeowners. Although not as widespread as video access and surveillance, other usages that could benefit from 5G will be augmented reality and virtual reality.”

One major benefit will be how the resident connects with their smart home when they are not in attendance.

With 5G, smart home owners will be able to better access video and images of their property and receive more data, more quickly on their smart phone concerning what’s going on in their home.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post predicted the benefits of 5G for the smart home would be much more extensive.

 “At home, 5G networks will move beyond the cliche of refrigerators that automatically reorder milk to fully integrated living spaces that adjust to the needs of every member of the family, providing home security, optimizing power and water usage, and personalizing entertainment,” they explained. 

“Smart homes will be much more energy-efficient. But more important for an aging population, 5G networks will help seniors to age in place, monitoring their medications, connecting them to telehealth services and tracking indicators from sleep to insulin levels.

When will it arrive?

Earlier this year Telstra undertook 5G trials on the Gold Coast in conjunction with the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Those trials achieved network speeds of 3Gbps using mmWave bands. That’s roughly 3000Mbps, or 30 times as a fast as the maximum speed of an NBN 100 connection.

Now, Telstra is looking to roll out 5G to cities and major metropolitan areas in 2019/20.

About Lera Smart Home Solutions

Lera Smart Home Solutions is a leading installer of smart home technology in the greater Sydney region. Our team boasts over 20 years’ experience in IT networking, programming and the electrical industry.

We have sourced the most reliable and cost efficient solutions from around the world to provide the very best in smart home solutions, and work with our clients to understand their needs.

You can learn more about transforming your house into a smart home here, or contact us directly for further advice.

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