Can 5G Replace WiFi?
While it’s certainly possible that 5G can replace WiFi, there’s a good chance that it won’t. 5G has too many limitations – like capacity and coverage issues. Plus, 5G and WiFi are better as complements rather that competition. Let’s take a look at both:
The future of 5G
New 5G technology has promised exciting things. Everything from fast speeds and high coverage density, to powering autonomous cars and smart street lights. But like all emerging technology, there’s a growth period. Right now, 5G is at a limited scale.
The 5G technology is only in a few cities currently: Los Angeles, Austin and Atlanta. According to a press release from Cisco, the current limited 5G coverage will only account for 3% of wireless connections by 2022. Meaning, right now consumers have to rely on other available broadband systems like 4G and WiFi.
The future of WiFi
Since 5G is only concentrated in limited areas, many of us have to rely on WiFi and 4G/LTE coverage. With bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices as major factors (plus WiFi 6), the WiFi industry is expected to grow to $15.6 billion by 2022.
Since 5G is projected to still be limited by 2022, WiFi will pull out ahead and not be replaced.
How do 5G and WiFi play into our connected world?
Right now, internet service providers (ISPs) need to build more robust networks if we want to enjoy the faster speeds and performance of both WiFi 6 and 5G. This won’t happen overnight. For now, consumers can still rely on 5G-compatible smartphones and Wi-Fi-only devices, because the emergence of the new technologies will be gradual.
Regardless, WiFi and 5G will have widespread use, all depending on geographic and economic factors.