What does 5G Mean for Business?

October 21, 2019 James Weaver

What does 5G Mean for Business?

With 5G pushing wireless broadband performance to new heights, businesses will reap benefits

Today, Cradlepoint made an exciting announcement: “Telstra Partners with Cradlepoint to Develop ‘5G for Business’ Customer Edge Solution.” So, what does 5G mean for business?” Isn’t 5G just another cellular generation? Doesn’t 5G benefit everyone equally? As it turns out, the answer is “no” — it’s a much bigger deal for business, and here’s why.

When text messaging via cell phones arrived, it was a big step for consumers. When phones could view web pages, it was an even bigger step. But when 4G allowed mobile phones to run applications as fast as home computers, that was monumental.

In many ways, 4G brought a certain phone-to-PC parity. Although 5G will noticeably improve performance for bandwidth-heavy applications, for most mobile phone applications, dramatic performance improvements will go unnoticed.




Here’s where it is different in the business world. In a cloud-centric business environment, bandwidth demands are high, and there is not yet wired-to-wireless parity. Today, some fiber-based broadband services can deliver multi-gigabit performance that is much faster than current 4G LTE speeds.

However, a little over a decade ago, a new edge networking application emerged: wireless WAN failover. Companies started to use cellular connections as a backup to wired connections. As a result, organizations have since realized the benefits of flexibility, security, and streamlined management of wireless broadband. These capabilities have created an appetite for wireless broadband across the world. Some organizations have even cut the cords entirely with 4G LTE.

So, you can imagine that businesses are watching 5G closely as a way to gain the flexibility of wireless but keep the performance and security of wired. As 5G has started to roll out across the world, there is already real-world proof of dramatic performance improvements over 4G. Take a look at actual performance speeds from Speedtest® comparing the performance of 4G to 5G from June to August of this year.

Mean 4G and 5G Speedtest® Results I — June-August 2019



4G DL (Mbps)

5G DL (Mbps)

% Difference

Fastest 4G

South Korea




Slowest 4G





Fastest 5G

United States




Slowest 5G

United Kingdom




Most Improved

United States




Least Improved





Besides interesting facts about the fastest, slowest, and most improved performance by country, notice that 5G download improvements range from 326% to 1291% over 4G. This data supports the emergence of a fundamental inflection point in wireless broadband for businesses. As wireless and wired broadband begin to have performance parity, companies will have a flexible WAN option that they have not had before.

Pushing wireless broadband performance to unprecedented levels will immediately benefit businesses. For instance, consider the following examples. Organizations that could only use 4G LTE for failover of its most critical traffic can now use wireless for failover of all traffic. Organizations using wireless video for facial recognition can deploy machine recognition. Firefighters who today can use cellular sensors can now have building diagrams fed into their masks, allowing them to virtually see through the smoke.

Further, businesses in a rapid expansion cycle can turn up high-performance wireless broadband on day one. Businesses who are required to bring their own broadband into big-box stores, airports, and temporary locations can now run high-bandwidth immersive applications with their customers. Transportation and agriculture businesses can realize the benefits of geographically contained autonomous driving. And the list goes on.

But even more exciting than these applications will be watching the rollout of business applications that haven’t been dreamed of yet. Innovation and moving towards the digital transformation is what 5G means for business.

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