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The high-speed promise of a 5G world14 June 2016

Wireless broadband is poised to take a huge leap forward. The next generation of mobile communication technology, 5G, offers the prospect of download speeds that far outstrip what’s currently available through wired broadband.

Anticipated to arrive from 2020, high speed mobile data transfer could bring an explosion in connected devices, the Internet of Things. It will also have massive implications for data security.


Taking the speed limiters off wireless broadband

Right now, mobile networks offer patchy 4G connectivity, which at best lets you download data at 14Mbps (megabytes per second).

If you download apps or videos to your mobile, you know that it takes a good few seconds, or even a minute or so, depending on connectivity. While it may feel a little slow, it’s much faster than was previously possible. But mobile download speeds are about to take a huge jump upwards.

The next generation, 5G, looks set to deliver downloads speeds of up to 10Gbps (gigabytes per second). A gigabyte is one thousand times the size of a megabyte. The data that now takes 30 seconds to download could be arriving one thousand times faster - that is, in a fraction of a second.

It’s worth remembering that right now, typical wired broadband speeds are around 20-50Mbps. At 10Gbps, the next generation of wireless broadband looks set to be much faster.


Unwiring the internet

According to one of the leaders in the development of 5G, Nokia, the new wireless networks will be able to handle 10,000 times more traffic.

It’s not just download speed that will be enhanced. Latency, which is the delay between devices communicating, will be cut to as little as one millisecond. This has huge implications for a host of interactive communications.

With its massively increased capacity, a 5G network will be well positioned to handle many more web-enabled wireless devices simultaneously. This level of connectivity will become essential as we drive into a future of automated vehicles and machines.

The huge growth in the variety and complexity of wireless devices and networks offers the prospect of new competitive opportunities for businesses. Unfortunately, it also deepens the risks around digital security.


Data security in a wireless world

Organisations of all sizes are learning to grapple with the complexities of digital security and data privacy. The issues and challenges could deepen considerably with the advent of a much more connected world.

Mobile company Ericsson said: “Security and privacy are cornerstones for 5G to become a platform for the Networked Society.”

With wireless likely to become the norm, some of the protections currently available through a wired network will become redundant.

Today, wireless devices are often perceived as high risk. In June 2016, it was revealed that the car alarm in the Mitsubishi Outlander could be disabled from outside the vehicle, due to bugs in its onboard wifi.

Other security scares include the discovery of security flaws in wireless routers used in thousands of homes and businesses, along with bugs in the security of other domestic devices such as wireless thermostats and baby monitors.

While manufacturers rush to wifi-enable their products, they don’t appear to have paid enough attention to security. These issues need to be addressed if individuals and businesses are to put their trust in the connected world promised by 5G.


Talk to us about digital security in the 5G world

The world of 5G mobile communications is coming, whether we like it or not. Organisations that use wifi should already be considering the implications of such widespread connectivity.

We’re helping our clients prepare by assessing the 5G readiness of their networks, processes and data security. We can’t afford to be complacent about our knowledge, because our clients depend on us keeping them up to date with current thinking. Their questions and concerns help us ensure we stay current on issues around this fast-moving subject.

If you would like to know more about how the security issues around 5G could impact your organisation, give us a call on 0808 168 9135 or email We would be pleased to have a no-obligation conversation with you.

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Until now, most of the concerns with mobile internet have been data upload and download speeds, and latency. The arrival of 5G will turn the spotlight onto security, privacy and network resilience. These will become some of the key issues through which businesses can secure the trust of their customers.