This was originally posted on my LinkedIn (here) & the main comment thread is on LI
I'm getting really fed up with a lot of the hype and exaggeration around #5G
at the moment, especially PR and marketing puff that creates unclear or
misleading claims. It's damaging to the credibility of the industry
overall & the specific organisations involved.
In recent weeks I've seen examples of:
- "Ultra-low #latency" claimed for a manufacturing network that uses non-standalone 5G (so, using a 4G core network & incapable of getting anywhere near 1 millisecond)
- Augmented reality demos claimed as 5G when actually they're using Wi-Fi or a wired tether
- Use of a 5G fixed-wireless access link to a building (distributed with #WiFi locally via a hotspot or router) leading to an application described as 5G-enabled
- A healthcare application with an internal diagnostic wireless camera within the patient's body, connecting to an external or gateway or handheld. The press release was vague on which bit of the solution was 5G, but a social media reply asserted it was a "virtual assistant" " (5G? really?) and refused to detail the system publicly, trying to get me to take the discussion offline
- A CBRS "hotspot" described as 5G, despite no 5G #CBRS standalone standards or devices yet being available yet
- 60GHz wireless (mostly using 802.11a or y) described as "5G" because it might be able to connect to a 5G core. There is no 60GHz 5G NR yet.
- Spurious claims that 5G will generate $Xbn in GDP, or save Y tons of CO2. What's the baseline for 4G/other wireless & what's the uplift attributable to 5G? What % of CO2 savings are from the wireless rather than 100 other system elements, or are you double-counting?
- Regular comments that compare performance of old versions of WiFi with future versions of 5G. Rather than, say, comparing WiFi 6E vs. 5G Rel 16, or WiFi7 vs. Rel 17.
- Cliched use of "billions of IoT devices" when we all know only a tiny % will ever connect with 5G
- Small 5G pilots being deliberately misused to imply large-scale or “production” use by a company.
The commentary is often along the lines of "Oh, well it might be proper 5G in the next version. This just the demo".
In which case, be honest and transparent and SAY SO CLEARLY.
Do not just release a press statement claiming yet another wondrous 5G use case. Be specific:
- Is it *actually* 5G? Or is this just using 5G as a buzzword?
- Which specific wireless connection in the solution uses 5G? Between which points / devices?
- What version/features of 5G is used? What frequency band & coverage is needed?
- What technology was used in past for similar solutions? What problems does 5G fix?
- Does the application work equally well over other wireless technologies such as 4G or Wi-Fi6?
It's not just marketing - this actually matters, as things like government funding or spectrum policy may be justified on the basis of spurious claims.
Let's have some more honesty here about what 5G can do today & what might be possible tomorrow. And let's all call out the chancers in public.