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5 Things Every IT Professional Should Know About 5G Networks

Today’s technology resembles the science fiction of a previous generation.

We’re living in a wireless world. Video conferencing is now a vital part of today’s business and educational landscape. Through machine learning, virtual assistant apps like Siri and Alexa improve themselves and become smarter over time. The Internet of Things (IoT) allows us to manage our household appliances and settings remotely. It’s only a matter of time before self-driving cars become available to consumers. All of these technological developments require wireless communication. As our dependence on wireless technology increases, so does the need for high-speed data networks that can accommodate our collective demand.


Many see a solution in the 5th generation mobile network (5G), which promises download speeds of 20Gbps, low latency, and extended battery life for devices. 5G towers have already started appearing in many populated areas around the world. Due to the inevitability of 5G, information technology (IT) experts must make sure businesses are ready when these new networks roll out in their areas. Here are five things that IT professionals should know about 5G:

1. Climate change is hastening the push for 5G. Consumers are largely unaware of the environmental and economic costs of using mobile devices. Because the processors at 3G and 4G network base stations around the world generate so much heat, cooling units are needed to keep these systems running properly. Almost half of mobile network operating costs come from the use of fans and air conditioners at these base stations. One study blames cooling equipment at 4G LTE base stations for up to 2% of global warming. By contrast, much of the 5G network’s processing can potentially be done in the cloud. This would eliminate the need for on-site base station processors—reducing much of the heat-generating equipment.1

2. Independent networks may be able to operate on the same 5G platform. Network slicing may allow businesses to partition the network into multiple, independent infrastructures that each meet the need of a specific application. For example, on the same network, a company could dedicate one slice for smartphones, one for self-driving cars, and another for IoT—with a piece acting as its own infrastructure but still sharing resources with the other slices. But there is still debate about whether this will ultimately be possible.1

3. 5G won’t completely replace Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Contrary to what we may have heard, 5G will not put an end to the need for wired Ethernet, which many organizations rely on for moving large amounts of data at speeds reaching 100Gbps. So even though 5G offers the fastest wireless network, wired Ethernet will remain the best option for many users. Wi-Fi is also likely to be around for a while, since its frequency can be used for free, without a license—unlike most cellular frequencies. 5G largely uses a licensed spectrum, meaning users must pay for the service.2

4. 5G will allow more IoT and AI applications. Because 5G moves more data at faster speeds, the latency—or delay before data transfer begins—is very low. This obviously benefits those working in big data analytics and related fields. But it also allows connected devices and sensors that are feeding and receiving information to respond almost instantly—with one-tenth the latency of 4G LTE networks. Artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT are two applications that will flourish in 5G-equipped environments. Self-driving cars employ both AI (in which a system makes real-time decisions in response to data) and IoT (which provides the data).3

5. Cybersecurity becomes a bigger issue with 5G. The more users there are, the more potential there is for a technology to be misused. 5G will certainly make connection easier for everyone—both good and bad agents. In particular, IoT devices—everything from thermostats to home security cameras—are notoriously easy to hack, with back doors through which cybercriminals can enter a network and steal personal data. Companies need to be proactive in guarding against these types of security threats.3

IT professionals are on the front lines of helping businesses implement this cutting-edge technology. If you’re interested in computer programming, computer engineering, and other computer science jobs, consider pursuing a career as a computer and information systems manager. Walden University offers an online MS in Information Technology degree program to help you reach your career goals. With five specializations, you will be able to tailor your degree to your specific interests.

When you choose Walden for your IT degree, you’re joining an accredited university known for its information technology expertise. Top IT faculty members will lead you through coursework that can prepare you for jobs in software engineering, big data analytics, cybersecurity, and many other sectors.

Walden University is an accredited institution that offers an online MS in Information Technology program. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,