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Pitfalls of 5G for Rural Users

April 10, 2022

Two topics we’ve heard plenty about over the last couple of years seem to be converging in trending tech talk: working remotely and 5G - and YK Communications wants to set the record straight when it comes to powering your home, office (or home office!) with 5G mobile internet technology. From security and reliability to availability and speed, let’s talk about where 5G falls short in rural areas.

What is 5G and how does it work?

To send and receive information, wireless communication systems use radio frequencies (also known as spectrum). 5G uses higher radio frequencies that are less cluttered than 4G, and it operates the same way. As a result, it is able to send and receive information much faster than 4G. The higher the band, the faster it is at carrying information, but sending information over long distances can be problematic. Trees and buildings can easily block the signal. As an attempt to overcome this challenge, 5G will rely on multiple, smaller input and output antennae to deliver stronger signals and higher capacity through the wireless network. Rather than using a single mast, they are mounted on buildings and street furniture.

5G’s Proximity Issues

In spite of the rapid deployment of 5G towers and transmitters, proximity will remain a concern. It is important to be close to 5G infrastructure to get the best 5G connections. Even densely populated urban areas won't have 5G coverage everywhere.

One case reported in downtown Austin, TX (a touted 5G network area) showed only 4G LTE signal, and the device even worked better when in 4G LTE mode compared to attempting 5G mode.

5G Doesn’t Love Rural

Like most infrastructure rollouts from “the big guys,” efforts have so far been focused on urban areas. Most rural and remote locations will not have 5G service until many urban areas are finished with construction. While we know the agriculture industries like farming, ranching, fishing, and even rural health systems find reliable internet connections to be critical to success, they aren’t seen as a good investment by large mobile providers.

Rural customers might be left waiting for 5G, but rural broadband service providers like YK Communications are stepping up to the plate with fiber access.

Considerations & Planning for 5G

Hardware placement, workspace layout, cybersecurity infrastructure, and interference with other technologies are all things to be considered when deploying 5G within your business. Having a plan for how to overcome any of these issues will be important for any rural business’ continuity. When you can’t afford to be down for a day or even weeks as issues are resolved, the switch to 5G can be risky without proper planning.

It’s Not Fiber

A fiber connection is a must if you need low latency: collaborative apps, remote control, smooth VPN access, or gaming.
5G has touted their latency goals, but so far they’ve fallen short.

“One of the promises of 5G is that it’s supposed to reduce latency times down to 1 millisecond, which, at first glance, certainly sounds impressive. As with many aspects of 5G, however, it turns out the full story isn’t quite that simple,” Forbes Contributor Bob O’Donnell said.

So while advertising and PR for 5G technology are spending big bucks to showcase flashy commercials and big promises to the public, our rural communities should be mindful of the tech’s limitations before adopting it.

If you’re in Ganado, Louise, El Campo, Danevang, or Markham looking for a rural internet service provider that’s already investing in your community… look no further! YK Communications offers high-speed internet, voice, and Cloud Cam video solutions with our signature hometown customer service. Get details by calling us at 361-771-3334.

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