Internet access is slowly becoming a necessity to modern life. Some countries are considering measures to label high-speed internet access as a human right, simply because of how important it’s become to everyday life.
With the internet becoming more and more necessary, we can expect to see infrastructure updates and advances scale up steadily. 2020 is set to continue in this trend, with advances in broadband tech, mobile networks, and wi-fi routers.
Evolutions in Internet Infrastructure
Fiberoptic broadband cables have been on the rise in the US for years. As more cities are connected to fiber, the entire broadband infrastructure is changing. In 2020, fiber is continuing to spread around the US and offer more connections for the general public and businesses alike.
Widespread use of fiber cables for internet could mean big things coming down the pipeline over the next few years. IoT devices benefit greatly from faster fiber connections, and so do smart devices and automated systems. Having the ability to connect more people, places, and devices to incredibly fast fiber broadband internet will revolutionize the way we live, work, and interact with our surroundings.
In 2020, we can except to see more and more businesses and government organizations getting connected to fiber. While it may not be as easy to see the results from the public’s perspective, fiber will keep making steady gains.
5G Is Coming
The latest buzzword in the world of tech is 5G. Hype around this development is understandable, as the fifth generation of wireless signal transmission is set to fundamentally change the way we interact with the internet in our daily lives.
5G is so fast that it has the potential to dramatically increase the number of devices we can have connected to the internet and how quickly we can get things done. Data-heavy devices, like self-driving vehicles, that need a solid stream of super-fast data could find the solution in 5G tech.
Unfortunately, 5G isn’t widely available yet. It will likely take a few years for the infrastructure to be in place. In 2020, 5G infrastructure is likely to be installed in more US cities, including Houston and Los Angeles.
Fiberoptic Versus 5G
The relationship between fiber internet and 5G is often framed as a competition. It’s stated as if 5G will overtake fiber and make it obsolete by the time it’s introduced around the US. However, 5G and fiber actually make a great team.
Speeds provided by a fiber cable and 5G are not significantly different. Fiber is certifiably fast internet that’s proved itself in real life usage, which is something 5G has yet to do. However, the biggest benefit that fiber offers is its stability and consistency.
Current 5G tech has not been rolled out to much of the US, and it’s limited in terms of connectivity. 5G uses different frequencies than 4G to transfer data. So far, the higher frequency 5G hasn’t been able to consistently transmit over long distances, through humidity, around buildings, etc. With the existing technology, 5G faces a lot of implementation challenges.
Fiber faces similar challenges in that you need a physical line to your building, creating a large upfront installation cost and wired dependency. But, fiber is a better solution for businesses that have many different users in the same building, especially a concrete building, who need fast internet access. 5G can’t travel through large, concrete buildings effectively without a lot of antennas spread around the premises, whereas fiber makes it easier for similar benefits.
Costly fiber lines aren’t likely to get out to rural areas, but 5G could find its way there easily. 5G doesn’t offer the consistency that many businesses and government organizations need, but fiber fills the gap. Fiber broadband lines and 5G are complementary technologies. They’re not competing as much as they’re working together to connect more Americans to fast internet speeds.
Introducing Wi-Fi 6
Another interesting angle to look at for broadband connections is the potential for hardware that improves the experience from the user side without any changes in the actual infrastructure. This is where Wi-Fi 6 steps onto the scene.
Wi-Fi 6 is the name given to the latest generation of wireless routers. It’s a new standard of wireless transmissions that makes data transfers between the ISP and connected devices much faster. Some speed tests put it at around 30% faster than our existing routers. There’s nothing that’s changed about the type of broadband connection, it’s only the router itself being more efficient and faster.
The exciting part about Wi-Fi 6 is that it’s already available from many top router brands selling in the US. The less exciting part is that ISP bandwidth limits for most home internet plans will make the change ineffective for a lot of home users. Businesses can likely find a little more wiggle room in their internet plans to take advantage of the better speeds and device connectivity.
As time goes on, fiber connections get more widespread, and the internet as a whole becomes faster, Wi-Fi 6 will be a huge part of the transition. The hardware is ready for whenever infrastructure can catch up to it!
I am interested in all things technology, especially automation, robotics and tech that helps change how society will live in the future.