The deployment of 5G networks will be such a drastic upgrade from our current 4G technology that it will emulate and sometimes outperform Wi-Fi and cable internet. Like Wi-Fi, 5G will rely on smaller cells with higher signal power. The speed of the network will reach 10 Gb/s – higher than the speed we currently receive through cable internet. Latency will decrease from 30 milliseconds (current 4G latency) to 1ms, which is the current latency of a Wi-Fi signal.
For companies and their IT departments, this drastic upgrade represents an opportunity to dematerialize their workspace further and enable employees to access their company networks, files and software from anywhere the world and any devices with the performance capabilities users have come to expect from Wi-Fi. This would allow greater flexibility in work locations and work schedules for their employees, which greatly impacts their productivity and satisfaction (Increase Workplace Flexibility and Boost Performance).
IT departments can use a company-owned 5G network subscription for employees to connect from anywhere to the company network and system. The heightened network speed and lower latency will enable users to use any complex software from any device regardless of memory or processing power. This will be a key technological shift because as employees access their work tools and files through the internet, the technical specifications of hardware become increasingly trivial. In the future, employees will only need a browser and an internet connection to access professional tools -- even complex web-based programs.
The growth of web-based work tools
5G, with its drastic upgrade in speed and decrease in latency, will make professional tools and files readily available through the internet. This has far-reaching implications for the digital tools we use to perform tasks, which could become increasingly dematerialized.
In terms of storage, cloud services accessible through browsers will put less emphasis on the memory size of employees’ computers. 5G’s higher download and upload speeds will make it easier to work on files that are accessible anywhere from a cloud platform.
5G will allow for complex software to be accessible by employees through their browsers. While this is the inherent concept of SaaS services, such as Google drive or Microsoft Outlook, the increase in download speeds and decrease in latency will mean that more complex software will be entirely accessible through a 5G connection. Employees will be able to use the full Microsoft or Adobe Suites, or developer programs such as Python or Ruby, from their computer browser (connected to a 5G network), their tablet and even their mobile phones.
This web-based structure promises that employees will be able to work from any place or device in the world without having to rely on hardware memory and processing power. This will give employees greater flexibility in the way they organize their time and perform work tasks. A graphic designer could start a task in the office, continue editing the Adobe file on his mobile phone during his commute and finish the task on his tablet at home.
Worldwide company networks
5G technology is poised to bring mobile users a universal internet connection wherever they go. This means that company networks can extend far beyond the perimeter of their offices. Employees will be able to access the 5G connections of their workplace from wherever they are in the world, which will eliminate the need for VPNs. From a security perspective, this will be significant because VPNs have been known to expose company networks to critical security flaws.
It is important to note that it will take a good deal of work from the telecom companies to deploy the 5G infrastructure and ensure the connection to the 5G company network will be as secure as the Wi-Fi connection of the company’s office. As a result, the development of 5G networks will be slow and costly to implement, but it promises to yield heightened productivity in the long term.
This heightened productivity will be directly observable in IT departments that could, through remote access to the company's network, increase response time, and ensure after-hours service. Moreover, remote network access will allow more employees to access the company’s data warehouse and other internal resources from afar so that IT and BI departments will be less frequently interrupted with ad-hoc tasks.
The future of work
Through the digitalization of the company workspace, 5G will be a key technological shift in the way that employees organize and perform their work tasks while striking a better work-life balance. Tools, such as Slack, Google Drive, and Invision, paved the way for increased flexibility and collaboration in the workplace, a trend that 5G can take to another level.