Unified Communications Featured Article

How 5G Will Transform Consumer Entertainment and Enterprise Networking

May 16, 2018

The debate rages throughout the parts of the internet that care about these things: what is the future of content? One of the leading contenders, and a personal favorite, is video gaming. The versatility of the ever-advancing gaming technology is obvious in how it leads the way in exploring the possibilities in VR, AR and multi-user immersive environments. All of these, of course, have many uses outside of gaming, for workforce management, customer service, marketing, and IoT.

Now, all of this technology is approaching a problem, and an opportunity, because of the amount of bandwidth they need to draw, and how little latency they can allow in order to be functional. All of these problems are likely to be addressed by the coming of 5G.

In a recent CNBC article by Eustance Huang, called “5G could change the video game industry forever,” we see how cloud services are trying to tap into the success of streaming services like Netflix by bringing video games to the cloud, but see problems arising from low-latency existing networks, and therefore are looking in how 5G might solve these issues.

The article quotes CB Insights analyst Jud Waite as saying that cloud computing will be the primary influencer on gaming in the future and therefore cloud subscription services, rather than console gaming, will likely be where gamers play moving forward.

What seems the be the main holdup of making these subscription services the primary mover in gaming right now is latency. 5G networks will address this problem by drastically reducing the time lag between command input and outcome. For gamers, this will mean that actions within the game take place in real-time, and for enterprise and business users, the same is true.

So, critical services and networks can operate closer to real-time with 5G, which would be slower if the system had to communicate with a cloud or home server and return to the edge of the network to take action.

This fact could mean that 5G will be an answer to cloud-based networking and gaming latency problems. This is also a key improvement over 4G or LTE networks.

5G standards organizations reportedly are aiming to reduce latency to 0.5 milliseconds, which is an improvement of more than two orders of magnitude on existing 4G networks, on average. CNBC reported that the FCC in 2015 measured average latency during peak hours on fiber broadband at about 11.7 milliseconds.

Looks like 5G is well positioned to win this game, after all. 

Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh