Before the world was consumed with the COVID-19 pandemic, there was other controversial news making headlines around the world. There were worries about new security threats that far surpassed any current telecom protocols and there was also a ban on Chinese companies being involved with 5G infrastructure in Australia, UK, and the US.
However, the outbreak has shown some opportunities for 5G and it’s forced experts to reassess 5G’s impact on our society. It’s not to say that security concerns have been completely tossed into the wind, they’re still very much prevalent, but 5G has proven important in the fight against COVID-19.
5G news and developments have largely gone unnoticed amidst the current pandemic completely taking over headlines all over the world. But despite the world seemingly coming to a halt, many countries including the US and China have continued to build out their 5G networks. In March, the White House debuted its strategy to confront potential security challenges and asked for cooperation around the globe in the “global development and deployment of 5G infrastructure.” China continued to push out its 5G networks, announcing in early March that telecom carriers will continue to press on and build at least another half a million 5G base stations in 2020.
Despite the pandemic, businesses are still preparing for 5G through 5G workplace collaboration systems and payment processing software. The pandemic has shed some light on the importance of a 5G network for a remote workforce.
Though it’s odd to think a technology thought by some conspiracy theorists to be the bringer of COVID-19, 5G is helping in the fight against the pandemic. Forbes recently reported how 5G is being used in the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and data science to track cases, deliver life-saving medical supplies and develop medicines to help combat the virus. 5G aids in all of these services because of the blazing fast speeds it produces to make things like AI possible.
It’s not just speed that makes 5G life-saving, it’s the ability to exchange large amounts of data quickly, that makes the difference. Most of the organizations critical to the fight against COVID-19 are using cloud services for all of the data they’re working with.
While there are so many businesses that will be severely impacted by the pandemic, others will prosper, including businesses that are developing AI-driven systems for tracking users, cybersecurity, and informational chatbots.
5G inherited some security vulnerabilities from 4G, and there are some valid concerns if the security industry can keep up with any gaps in security that 5G has. Because 5G’s speed and network capacity is incredibly valuable, the rollout of these networks has been analyzed by experts for how it can be implemented safely, rather than “if it can.”
There are two major reasons for the thinking of “how” compared to “if.” The first reason is the notion that the coronavirus pandemic was caused by 5G- which is completely false, among other myths around the new technology. The latest strategy brought forth by the White House shows that the U.S. wants to help lead the development of cybersecurity standards.
The second reason is a smooth upgrade from our 4G networks to 5G. Because of the pandemic, many businesses have been forced to conduct business as usual remotely, which has brought up some pain points that previously didn’t exist, such as 5G functionality for their employees. Few industries are quick to adopt 5G technology, but finance and tech companies are leading the way. 5G adoption means several things for a business, including a change in various elements of business. The move to 5G is no longer seen as optional, but something that needs to happen.
Though 5G has been coming along for some time now, the current pandemic has only highlighted the need for 5G’s services and applications. The pandemic has presented both opportunities and challenges, including the benefits of a remote workforce for economic benefits. A vaccine could come from an AI system, finally making them widely recognized. The US may be in a unique position at the end of this crisis– to have the first secure 5G network, because of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s plan for a US-friendly 5G network.