5G internet has been making news a lot in the past few months. From predictions of a hyper-fast internet future to conspiracy theories about the origin of the coronavirus, it’s hard to escape talk about 5G.
But, what exactly is 5G, and how will it impact your website? Websites are a vital part of any business in 2020. Thus, understanding the ramifications of 5G will be essential for your continued success as a business owner. Continue reading this article to learn more about 5G technology and how it will impact your website.
What is 5G?
First of all, let’s talk about what 5G actually is. 5G standard for “the fifth generation.” You are probably familiar with the “G” labels for cellular networks. The third and fourth generation (3G and 4G respectively) are common throughout the United States.
5G technology does not change the way the cellular network works. There will still be the cell system we are used to with 3G and 4G networks. One of the biggest (but not the only) difference between 5G and the earlier generations is speed. Processing speed has improved with each successive generation, so this is to be expected, but the change will be quite dramatic with 5G. All of the changes, including speed, that set 5G apart will be discussed in the next section.
The rollout of 5G service in the United States began in 2019. Verizon, for example, introduced 5G in Chicago and Minneapolis on April 3, 2019. The 5G network among all major cell providers, especially in major cities, has only increased since then. In fact, since the coronavirus began disrupting all aspects of daily life in early 2020, experts except that the demand for 5G will only increase.
There is a lot that makes the adoption of 5G a great thing. However, there are a few drawbacks. Most importantly, the introduction of 5G in the U.S. has so far been limited to the major cities. This means places like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and Boston. You can find maps of the 5G networks for each of the major carriers here.
5G networks remaining in highly populated locations are not a huge problem unless you live in areas without service. If a person is located in a rural area, they are more likely to have 4G or even 3G coverage only. This discrepancy is important to keep in mind when developing your website, as you want to appeal to as many people as possible.
What makes 5G different?
Now that you know the background of 5G, it is time to discuss exactly what makes it so different. The one difference most focus on is the download speed and greater bandwidth.
Download speed has only gotten faster in the last couple of decades. As the cellular networks move into new generations, their speeds have more than doubled. The average speeds of 3G, 4G, and 5G are as follows:
- 3G=2 Mbps (megabits per second)
- 4G=20 Mbps
- 5G=50 Mbps
Obviously, 5G is much faster than either 3G or 4G networks. This is important because it allows customers to download pictures, videos, and stream content at a much faster rate.
The greater bandwidth with 5G is also important. It increases the amount of speed available for customers. The 5G networks are both faster and has a greater bandwidth than the early generations.
Another great benefit of 5G is reduced latency and a more stable connection. Reduced latency ensures that content gets to the user faster. And, they will be much less likely to lose their connection with the better stability of 5G. Essentially, all of these benefits are designed to allow more streaming from cellular devices. The greater speed and bandwidth space allow for more streaming of music and video in the network, which increases the efficiency of mobile usage.
What is this mean for your website?
So, what does all of this mean? We’re done with the technicals and are ready to apply them to your website. Here are a few ways that 5G will affect your website.
- With the increase in cellular data space and speed, Smartphones will become even more important. This fact will probably have the greatest impact on your website. It will have to be designed for Smartphones. In fact, we recommend designing your website for Smartphones before you worry about the way it looks on desktops and other, larger screen.
- The increased speed and reduced latency of 5G mean that you can put even more content into your website. The 5G network can handle high definition visuals and videos. 4K video is also likely to become much more common. As loading times to become less, 4K video becomes a much more realistic option for all web designers. Feel free to go complicated as you explore all 5G has to offer.
- Local SEO will continue to grow in importance with 5G as well. No matter what your business, you should consider local SEO services with the current 4G network as well. The rise of 5G will only increase that need. As more people move to find local businesses on their Smartphones, you will need to ensure your business is in the correct directories and maps to compete.
- A final way that 5G will chance website design is in the rise of virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR). VR and AR are mostly known in a video gaming context. However, the increased capacity and speeds of 5G will make it possible to begin using VR and AR on websites. The possibilities of VR and AR will likely be more possible in the future. However, many companies are creating technology and tools to make them more accessible to website designers right now.
While you have likely heard many scare stories about 5G in recent months, it is not the devil. In fact, 5G—when used considered—can be an amazing tool in the website designer’s arsenal. By understanding what the network is and how it is different, you can stay ahead of the curve. Make your business’s website stand out by centering your design on 5G features and you will draw even more customers as the 5G network continues to expand.