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Forget How Many Bars You Have, It's a Reliable Connection That Matters

I am a parent, futurist, and technologist. My career has spanned the birth of personal computers to the rise of cloud computing.

How do we define a "reliable connection" in the age of 5G?

How do we define a "reliable connection" in the age of 5G?

Reliability Is More Important Than We often Realize

As a futurist, I often consider many things in the technology world around me. Sometimes I consider the impact of technology on the greater good or the concept and impact of the world around me. Sometimes I look at things and say, boy, that could be better. There has to be an easier way. I am interested in the concept of innovation, but also something that I often consider. Innovation is often simply the process of looking at a problem and saying there has to be a better way to do this.

Today I want to talk about your cellphone and why you ultimately care about 5G network services. More importantly, beyond simply using 5G, why do you care about reliable network services?

Why Should We Care About 5G?

First of all, there are several flavors of what is considered 5G. The largest iteration of 5G is what is called Nationwide 5G. It is an upgraded 4G LTE network. This upgraded 4G represents the largest amount of current 5G services. Nationwide 5G is slower than the 5G you will experience in the future. But it is faster than the 4G LTE network you had previously. It is not just speed, however, that we're concerned with today. Rather as we move down this path of 5G, we begin to have the concept and conversation around why a reliable network is critical.

The reason that reliability is critical now has less to do with the rollout of 5G and more to do with the reality of the evolution of the cellular phone world. For example, 25 years ago, no one used their cell phone as a day service. A cable and software you could do. But it needed to be more reliable. It wasn't a powerful signal; people only did it sometimes. Now people routinely live on themselves. That life is the wrong word. It isn't about living on a cell phone. It is about the fact that many people rely heavily on their cell phones to do their day-to-day jobs.

The cell phone has become the predominant tool most people use in their lives.

As you increasingly rely on your cell phone, the need for reliability increases. It's not about how many times you cars you have nationwide. It's not about how much the service costs. In the end, now it becomes about reliable network service. In other words, you care about how often a call you make loses its connection to the network. The colloquial term for that is a "dropped call." For example, since the pandemic's beginning, most of us have seen a significant increase in conference calls.

Additionally, in the past, when you would have thousands of people or millions of people connecting to the cellular network, now you have multiple millions of people connecting to the network. So the reliability of that connection is critical going forward.

What Reliability Means Today

As I said, reliability isn't the number of bars your handset shows. With the reality of 5G, it's about how often your signal drops. If your signal never drops, then you're in a reliable area. But a reliable area doesn't mean your services are reliable means you are in an area with many cellular antennas.

Reliability is when you drive somewhere; during that process, you maintain your cellular connection to a conference call or person. You will never experience 100% reliability. The reality is you will lose cellular connections during calls. It can happen is nothing you can do about it. It has to do with the nature of the cell phone. You are passing between towers. There is not one cell phone network that covers the entire country.

Tower-to-Tower Connectivity

First of all, there are multiple carriers, but also you are beholden to the sphere of an antenna. The sphere of an antenna is that area that shows where your cell phone can see that tower and connect to it. That can be anywhere from half a mile to 2 miles and sometimes four and five miles if there is a clear line of sight. You move into the next sphere when you reach that tower's end. That's when calls drop. If your signal to the next tower is weak and your signal to your last power is weak in that transition. It is conceivable that you lose connection.

Here's where the reality of advertising comes in to cause a problem. Again the reality of 5G is not the number of bars you have. It is the network's reliability regarding the tower-to-tower communication. You will ultimately get very frustrated if you drive along and drop your signal every time you transition between towers; at 70 miles per hour, that can be as often as once every 4 minutes or less. If you're driving 30 to 40 miles, you could drop your call 10 to 20 times during an hour of conversation. That is again where reliability is so critical.

Reliability is making that call and keeping that call from tower to tower as you drive.

You see, the only thing you should care about is reliability. Can I drive from where I go to where I go and not lose the signal while talking to people? Can I text, send pictures, and interact with the world via my phone without losing conductivity? You see, reliability is where you can say "Hey Siri" and no matter what, Siri will respond to you. Not the warning signs that Siri gives you that the connection could be more robust to communicate with this Siri service. The one phrase that I guarantee you when you hear it means your theory connection is not good enough is "I'm working on it." When Siri says I'm working on it, it is normally a connection issue. The next thing that happens is saying, oops, that's it. You have to start over. Please try again!

Connecting to the Information Age

Connectivity is so critical in the modern world. As we move through the age of digital transformation and head towards the long-promised information age, the reliability of that connection in your hand will become more and more critical. So the next time you see an advertisement on TV that says we have the most acts of 5G in the world, stop and ask yourself but is it reliable?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 DocAndersen