Ready to Embrace The Benefits of 5G? Ask These Questions

Many mission-critical organizations are still relying on 4G/LTE — for now. The benefits of 5G promise to revolutionize the way these organizations operate, enabling them to leverage cutting-edge technologies like augmented reality (AR), real-time video sharing, drones, and sensors. So, for organizations considering a switch to 5G, what are the right questions to ask?

When will most our team’s applications require 5G?

To answer this question, start by assessing how your teams currently use 4G compared to the new benefits of 5G. For example, with 4G, first responders can dispatch teams, keep track of inventory, and send Amber Alerts and electronic reports to keep teams informed and ready to respond to any emergency. 5G’s advantages will enable first responders to instantly share HD videos, deploy AR to access critical information (such as building layouts) during incidents, and reduce 911 response times.

When will network requirements change in the next three to five years?

It’s also important to evaluate network standards, requirements, and plans for commercial roll out. Regulatory bodies like 3GGP continue the development of 5G standards that introduce new functionality in the future. This may impact power levels, interference, and frequencies. 

Take the time to understand how updated or new standards could impact your organization’s use cases and upgrade process. New regulations may hinder the usability of current deployments or bring about new and improved devices that better fit a particular mission-critical industry — like increased rural connectivity options that could open new device options for utility workers servicing solar fields in remote areas.

Which rugged devices offer the most flexibility for transitioning from 4G to 5G?

Finally, determine if current mobile devices offer flexible connectivity options to facilitate the 4G to 5G transition. Since mission-critical organizations often work with limited IT teams and budgets, devices that offer multiple connectivity options will minimize cost and downtime, allowing for a seamless transition. For example, if a police force can upgrade to 5G-capable rugged devices during their device refresh cycle, they can avoid the need to deploy new devices when they are out of cycle. This helps officers stay on the job with better, more reliable connectivity to respond to emergencies and process reports.

Backward Compatibility When Embracing the Benefits of 5G

One vital consideration for mission-critical organizations planning to switch from 4G to 5G is backward compatibility. This feature allows devices to support both 4G and 5G networks, ensuring continuous connectivity during the transition. 

In areas where 5G coverage may be limited initially, backward compatibility becomes crucial for reliable operations. Organizations should consider this capability while evaluating potential devices to ensure a seamless transition to 5G without disrupting critical operations in areas still reliant on 4G networks.

Finding Solutions for a Seamless 4G to 5G transition

Getting all the answers for your organization’s 5G journey immediately may not be possible because there’s no one-size-fits-all formula. This is where valuable partnerships play a crucial role. Look for solution vendors that understand your specific connectivity use case, have their finger on the pulse of connectivity standards and compatibility, and create adaptable solutions.

Panasonic Connect knows that the best solution vendors support every stage of the solution cycle — from planning to deployment to maintenance to upgrades. That includes helping customers plan for a 4G to 5G transition and offering rugged devices with multiple connectivity options. Panasonic Connect’s TOUGHBOOK solutions, like the TOUGHBOOK 40, offer the fastest cellular connectivity in the industry and the choice of a 4G or 5G modem to support mission-critical applications like FirstNet® and Verizon Frontline.

Learn more about how TOUGHBOOK solutions and support services help mission-critical industries stay connected from anywhere.