You will be forgiven for thinking there are disadvantages of 5G. Yes, the most hyped-up and debated cellular technology of our times does have its demerits. Despite delivering a mouth-watering data rate speed and low latency, it has its own shortcomings. We have listed the major ones below:
What is 5G?
Let’s first begin with what 5G is. It is the next-generation cellular technology. Succeeding the current best network 4G (LTE) and 3G and 2G legacy networks, the fifth-generation mobile communication is expected to transform all the communication barriers with speed up to 1 Gbps and minimal latency. In fact, 5G goes beyond the mere mobile phone and internet realm. It is treated as the major course toward the next phase of digital transformation. The world is moving towards self-driving cars, remote surgery, 8K, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc. The new standard is supposed to complement all that.
But despite its remarkable data transmission rate and reliability, there are some shortcomings. Nothing is perfect and so it is. Here are the major 5G disadvantages.
High download speed doesn’t match the upload speed
5G guarantees great download speeds, in some cases beyond 1 Gbps. However, it fails at delivering commendable upload speed. In fact, it can be as low as 100 Mbps which is not that bad compared to current generation 4G’s capabilities but with 5G, it does look far less than overwhelming.
Also read: <<<5G advantages<<<
Frequency and coverage have inverse relationships. The higher the frequency the lesser the coverage and that is a real issue with 5G. It uses extremely high frequency to deliver high-speed throughput however, the very advantages also play against its coverage capacity. Due to this, many telcos employ a mix of low mid, and high bands to provide worthy coverage and performance. But lower bands only offer better download speed than 4G while high-frequency won’t travel several hundred meters.
Physical obstructions could lower coverage
Doubling down on an innate low coverage shortcoming, 5G can be highly suspicious of physical obstructions. While its radio waves surpass only a short distance, its coverage can be badly impacted by physical structures such as walls, trees, buildings, etc. These contribute to blocking the high-frequency signals resulting in poor signal reception on the user end.
The only remedy to this is adding more base stations and that’s what operators are doing across the world.
High cost of infrastructure
Every new technology is costly and so is 5G. Its research and development have already cost a fortune but also for telcos, it costs a huge amount to upgrade the infrastructure. Some have used existing 4G hardware to deliver the technology which is a non-standalone architecture but it doesn’t offer the expected performance. Cellular companies are still looking for ways to reduce the cost of upgrading to the advanced modern network.
Faster battery drain
When 3G came, most smartphones first suffered from reduced battery efficiency and the same happened with 4G until phone makers increased their phone’s battery capacity. 5G devices will face similar conditions. The engineers have to improve the technology to enable batteries to sustain their juice for longer. In addition, users also complain of their phones getting hot quickly while connected to 5G.
Limited rural access
5G’s enthralling speeds have mostly arrived for people in urban areas with many in the countryside and rural settlements limited to 4G or legacy networks. Most operators start with the network’s launch in cities and then gradually expand however, the process takes years for full deployment. So, uniform coverage is still wishful across the world. The states have implemented regulations that operators need to make 5G available in rural areas too but it’s not yet implemented rigorously for various reasons.
According to GSMA, there will be 1.5 billion 5G users by the end of 2023 with the US, China, and South Korea set to take the lead for advanced mobile communication.