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Is 5G Worth All the Hype?

Industry experts weigh in on the global telecom debate

The telecom industry kicked 2019 off by continuing the highly publicized debate over the opportunities, or lack thereof, that 5G presents modern day society. The technology’s promise to deliver higher bandwidth, lower latency, reduced packet loss, and overall increased system capacity than its 4G and 3G predecessors, is still generating both high expectations and severe skepticism.

With the gradual emergence of autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and all things IoT, advocates and hopeful early adopters believe that 5G technology will support innovation and transform the world as we know it. Conversely, critics attest that the so called “next generation” is overly-hyped and still faces a magnitude of serious hurdles before it can prove revolutionary.

To weigh in on the debate, I asked a panel of diverse industry experts to comment on the following question:

What do you think of 5G, is it worth all the hype?

___________________

Catherine McNally

Internet Specialist, HighSpeedInternet.com

In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found that 92.3% of Americans have access to speeds of 25 Mbps or more—but more than 24 million Americans don’t have access to internet speeds that meet 25 Mbps. Because 5G nodes don’t necessarily require as much infrastructure as a cell tower, they can be used in areas lacking wireless coverage. This will extend wireless speeds of at least 10 Mbps (the FCC’s current definition of mobile LTE broadband) to rural areas lacking in Internet options. If done right, 5G will help level the current rural-urban divide when it comes to Internet speeds, so I think the hype is warranted.

James Graham

CEO and Co-Founder, Community Phone

@wittedhaddock@communityphone

[5G is] definitely not worth the hype for any end-user or individual human. Certain IoT or self-driving car applications are different. Notwithstanding all of the industry claims and promises for how 5G will fix all woes, the one piece that is never considered is how app developers consistently re-write apps to utilize all available bandwidth. So even should all the tenuous bandwidth promises of 5G [be real], app developers — if history is any guide — will stuff themselves with 3rd party frameworks and services that consume your newfound 5G connection. So, while one might be able to theoretically receive twice as much data per second, what matters way more is how your app is developed. Two years ago, websites became the size of DOOM. That’s only increasing.

Jim Poole

Vice President of Business Development, Equinix

The real value of 5G and the reason we’re seeing such heavy investments in building these networks is to help businesses and consumers unlock new, currently unattainable capabilities. 5G networks are expected to far surpass 4G networks in optimizing applications such as IoT, AI, next-generation high definition video and fixed wireless access. 5G’s extremely fast bandwidth and ultra-low latency makes mission-critical control possible, opening the door for new applications that demand absolute reliability, such as health care, energy or autonomous transportations.

Vassilis Seferidis

CEO, Zeetta Networks

@ZeettaNetworks

As a society we tend to over-hype technology. For the person-in-the-street 5G brings you little new functionality compared to a well-designed, uncongested 4G network. It will still let you watch Netflix. What 5G will also do is let you watch Netflix in high-definition, on a crowded train, moving at speed where everyone else on the train is also watching Netflix. Nothing new, but certainly a better experience.

Beyond the day-to-day changes, 5G is a network of networks and has the ability to bridge the digital divide by connecting the unconnected. If all you want to do is watch more box-sets 5G isn’t worth the hype. If you want to make the world a better place 5G may be the technology to help you do it.

Amy Smith

Technology Analyst, FitSmallBusiness.com

@FitSmallBiz

As giddy as I always get for new tech, I also remind myself that first-generation anything should be met with skepticism. The 5G jump promises faster download speeds, lower latency, and all-around better experiences with our smartphones; basically, it’s a bigger pipe for data transfer. However, coverage won’t be widespread initially, and depending on where you are, you might not be able to take full advantage of the network or that expensive new phone. Plus, I’d expect the data caps by wireless services to be prohibitive. The next generation in wireless phone tech is exciting, but I’ll wait a year before I personally invest in anything to make sure the networks are stable (and in my area), the bugs and glitches in new phones (and batteries) are worked out, and that there’s proof that 5G really will be faster than 4G LTE.

Zouhair Sebati

Lead Account Partner, IBM Global Business Services

While attracting a lot of hype about how it will disrupt everything — much like most emerging technologies—5G is different. The predicted transformational benefits are real, but it is still an uncharted landscape. Businesses need to prepare for plenty of first-generation challenges.

A recent report indicates that 60% of organizations surveyed plan to deploy 5G by 2020, with clear expectations for 5G use cases, but this demand is far ahead of what communication service providers (CSPs) can deliver. CSPs are initially focused on consumer broadband services. To businesses, 5G is more than just a better mobile network – it will improve the networks of companies in every industry, allowing them to take greater advantage of transformative technologies, such as AI, IoT, and machine-to-machine communication. From autonomous vehicles to smart cities and healthcare, companies expect 5G to improve how they collect, manage and use data, enabling better customer service, increased operational efficiency, and greater employee productivity. How well an organization plans for and implements 5G will determine the level of transformational impact on its business. This means preparing now to implement this next wave.

Skyler Ditchfield

Co-Founder and CEO, GeoLinks

@GeoLinks_USA | @SkylerJesseD

As it currently stands, 5G is not worth the hype at all. There are still countless issues with the technology, such as your hand or body blocking the signal, and deployment timeframes continue to be pushed further out. In reality, 4G provides us with enough speed and low latency to support all of today’s modern applications. Unless an area is overly saturated, such as urban markets, the general Public will virtually notice no difference between 4G and 5G. Moreover, 5G has a strong potential to hinder progress in connecting rural America. Why? Expansion dollars will likely be focused on building out new 5G infrastructure causing less and less capital being dedicated to closing the 4G gaps in rural and suburban America. I can tell you personally in my town of around 110k (Ventura) there are countless 4G dead spots. In fact, I even run into dead zones throughout Los Angeles and Beverly hills on Verizon. All in all, instead of focusing on the overly-hyped marketing of 5G, our energy and dollars should instead focus on densifying 4G networks and adopting a hybrid-network approach to closing the digital divide.

Chris Nicoll

Principal Analyst Wireless, ACG Research

@CANicoll

Despite promises and early launches by Verizon and T-Mobile in the US, and other operators around the world, the main differing features of 5G – namely very low latency in support of VR-type applications and remote robotic control and ‘network slicing’ to allow networks to be virtually separated into virtual private networks – will not come for at least another 2 to 4 years.

[Furthermore,] the much-touted use of ‘sub-6GHz’ and mmWave spectrum requires 2 to 5x the densification of today’s existing mobile networks. There are some technologies that can mitigate this densification, but as the FCC in the US is pursuing, this requires massive numbers of small cells, and current zoning rules are localized which slows down deployment. This argument also misses the high costs of running fiber to all of these small cells and the only solution is wireless backhaul which requires more spectrum. [So,] 5G will eventually live up to the hype, but for now, consumers should be patient and not fall for the shiny object dangling in front of them.

Michael Bancroft

Co-host, Globalive Media’s “Beyond Innovation”

There’s plenty of hype about incoming 5G networks, and they are definitely worth getting excited about – not only because it will deliver dramatically faster speeds to your smartphone (though that is a nice bonus!), but also because it will unleash the potential of the Internet-of-Things. 5G delivers gigabit speeds at very low latency, making it possible to connect millions of devices simultaneously and constantly, without interruption. Exciting new technologies, such as augmented reality experiences and autonomous vehicles, [will] become possible by laying the 5G groundwork. In the bigger picture, by hooking up IoT sensors to everything from traffic lights, to factory robots, to vending machines, we can gather incredibly granular data on nearly every interaction that occurs, and all of this data can be processed and analyzed by AI algorithms to identify ways to make services vastly more efficient and cost-effective.

However, where the 5G hype gets a little outlandish is in how quickly we’ll see the improved capabilities of 5G come to market. It will take some time to scale these networks and develop the IoT applications that will run on them, and that’s something consumers need to keep in mind.

So as articulated in the above comments, the 5G debate continues with a split verdict. Now, what do you think of 5G, is it worth all the hype?

GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ Network Named Most Disruptive Technology

Innovative Fixed Wireless Telecom, GeoLinks’, awarded “Most Disruptive Technology” in the 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards

The Pacific Coast Business Times (PCBT), in partnership with the Office of Technology and Industry Alliances at UC Santa Barbara, officially published the winners of its 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards this past Friday, February 23rd. Established to ‘recognize a breakthrough that has the potential to disrupt a major industry or aspect of technology’, the regions’ ‘Most Disruptive Technology’ was awarded to GeoLinks for its innovative Fixed Wireless Network, ClearFiber™.

“The Pacific Coast Business Times is pleased to honor GeoLinks with the ‘Most Disruptive Technology’ award at the 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards,” said PCBT Special Reports and Research Editor Chris Officer. “GeoLinks was awarded for standing toe-to-toe with big name wireless providers and causing disruption within the telecom industry.”

GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network is an innovative technology that brings cost effective symmetrical Internet access to anchor institutions and businesses across the state of California and beyond. Created by GeoLinks’ CTO Ryan Hauf and CEO Skyler Ditchfield, ClearFiber™ is the first fixed wireless solution to utilize renewable energy to generate telecom-grade broadband. By building state-of-the-art solar and wind powered telecommunications facilities, GeoLinks is able to build off the grid in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of fiber.

“Because we’re able to bypass lengthy permitting processes and infrastructure build-outs, we originally established the technology as a fast, green, and economical way to connect underserved rural communities,” said GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “And while GeoLinks continues to aggressively work towards our founding mission of closing the U.S. digital divide, shortly after Ryan and I founded the company, we realized that ClearFiber™ truly had the potential to disrupt the telecom industry as we know it. Thus, over the past seven years, we have obsessively improved and advanced the technology enabling us to rapidly expand into urban markets. Delivering up to 10 Gbps of dedicated enterprise-grade Internet with identical latency and jitter as fiber, ClearFiber™ now competes head-to-head in the B2B marketplace with the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world.”

With demand in its business, education, and government sectors rapidly increasing, GeoLinks’ executives don’t see an end in sight to the company’s growth.

“ClearFiber™ is actively redefining the way the industry looks at microwave technology,” said GeoLinks’ President Ryan Adams. “While we still have a way to go in completely eliminating what we call ‘fixed wireless anxiety’, GeoLinks is consistently proving that fixed wireless is a viable solution not only in closing the digital divide, but also in providing a truly reliable business-class alternative to fiber. Endorsed by prominent local, state, and federal officials and municipalities, we’re confident that ClearFiber™, in conjunction with our dedication to providing exceptional in-house customer service, will soon make GeoLinks a household name nationwide.”

GeoLinks, alongside fellow Central Coast Innovation Award winners, will be honored at an awards ceremony on Thursday, March 15 at Hotel California in Santa Barbara, California from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online at Eventbrite.

“The Central Coast has become nationally recognized for the quality and diversity of the innovative technologies and startup companies it has spawned,” said Sherylle Mills Englander, Director of the Office of Technology and Industry Alliances at UCSB. “UCSB looks forward to working with the Business Times to honor and celebrate the breadth of Central Coast innovation and, through the Startup Village, give investors a sneak peek at the best and brightest technology companies emerging from our region.”

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact Lexie Olson at lolson(at)geolinks.com.

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About GeoLinks

Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions. Ranked No. 5 by category on Inc. Magazine’s 2017 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Layer 2 Transport, Hosted Voice, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide.

GeoLinks’ accelerated success is largely due to its flagship product, ClearFiber™, which offers customers fixed wireless on the most resilient and scalable network ever built. From land procurement, construction, permitting, and more, GeoLinks does everything in-house, expediting installation periods nationwide. Boasting ultra-low latency, up to 99.999% uptime, sub 10ms jitter, and a 4-hour max response time, GeoLinks prides itself on delivering the industry’s best Service Level Agreement backed by 24/7 in-house customer support.

Recognized as a thought-leader in closing the digital divide, GeoLinks proudly sits on an array of national boards, coalitions, and working groups including the Schools, Healthcare & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.

7 Ways to Improve Workplace Productivity Using Technology

“How to improve workplace productivity,” is a highly searched term these days. While results may reveal answers ranging from Encourage More Breaks to Limit Meetings…the reality is, every work place is different. In fact, every employee is different. What behavioral strategy or method may work on one team member, may not on the next. So, how do we come to a universal solution on the impending dilemma of elevating workplace productivity? In truth, there may not be just one answer. We suggest, however, a wise place to start is by equipping staff with the most useful and adaptable performance tools and systems available on the market. Below we have outlined 7 Ways to Improve Workplace Productivity Using Technology.

1. Ensure Your Workplace Has a RELIABLE, HIGH-SPEED, and DEDICATED Internet Connection

In today’s competitive marketplace, having high-speed, reliable Internet is paramount to a company’s internal productivity. Fact: In a world reliant on Internet, digital downtime can cost a company upwards of $100,000 per minute.

So, what causes downtime, and how can we avoid it?

Work in a developing area? Construction may disrupt your connection. Does your community ever experience high winds, rain or snowfall? Weather can disconnect your service for hours or days on end. Operate in a shared office space or building? Your Internet speed may be inconsistent and unpredictable simply because everyone is sharing the same fiber optic line.

Enter: Fixed Wireless.

Simply put, fixed wireless provides high speed broadband Internet access to a single location via radio waves. By utilizing antennas, towers, and an express line of sight (LoS) to transmit point-to-point signals, fixed wireless technology eliminates the need for costly terrestrial fiber, satellite feeds or cable lines. Unaffected by weather, fixed wireless provides businesses with a dedicated connection that boasts faster uptime, ultra-low latency, and higher bandwidth.

2. Utilize Group Chats (We Suggest Google Hangouts)

In short, Google Hangouts is today’s modern instant messaging platform. Allowing up to 15 people in a single chat, Google Hangouts eliminates timely back and forth email chains or those “long walks across the office”. Questions can be asked and answered instantaneously and “losing” or “not seeing” an email is no longer an excuse. Accessible via desktop or mobile, group chats can even be named by department to further encourage organized and efficient communication streams.

3. Use Smartsheets to Track To-Do Lists and Monitor Deadlines

Smartsheets is a software as a service (SaaS) application designed for collaboration and work management. It allows users to assign tasks, track project progress, set priority deadlines, manage calendars, and share documents. With a spreadsheet-like user interface, managers are able to easily remind employees of approaching deadlines, ultimately driving employees to stay on-task and complete projects in a timely manner.

4. Switch to Hosted Voice—Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

By utilizing your broadband Internet connection to power your phone services, Hosted Voice, or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), offers businesses a simple solution to significantly cut down overall communication costs, improve and expand interaction between employees and customers, and ensure a more reliable quality of service.

Popular features include:

Fax-to-email
Follow Me
Voice-to-email
Conference Bridge
Toll-Free Numbers
Unified Communications
…and more!
Ultimately, Hosted Voice equips employees with advanced communication tools that allow work to follow them inside and outside of the office.

5. Host Sharable Company Files in Dropbox

Employees need trustworthy and timely access to up-to-date company files in order to remain informed and successful. Instead of connecting to VPNs or searching through emails, employees using Dropbox can quickly access team data from almost anywhere. These reliable file transfers allow field employees to manage entire projects from the field.

6. Take Evernotes

Per its slogan, “Capture, organize, and share notes from anywhere. Your best ideas are always with you and always in sync,” Evernote allows users to easily create an endless number of notebooks from the palm of their hand. But this isn’t just any regular *hold on let me flip through a million pages to find what I’m looking for* notebook. With Evernote, users can quickly jot down ideas and notes via text, voice memos, real time photos or web clips. With added tag and category features, users can catalog notes for quick and easy access via search. It’s productive note taking re-invented!

7. Systemize Workflow Integration through HubSpot

Successful marketing automation relies on triggering relevant and timely actions based on a customer’s response. HubSpot has developed a “Workflow” system that allows businesses to effectively and efficiently scale both sales and marketing efforts.

So, what’s a workflow? A workflow is an automated set of marketing actions that are executed based on pre-specified conditions. For example, a workflow action could be sending out a follow-up email with your promised offer when a contact fills out certain forms. These programmable and automated “outlines” of what to do and when to do it, keep employees on task and producing results as efficiently as possible.

 

“I’m most grounded on the role of technology. Ultimately to me it’s about the human capital and the human potential and technology empowers humans to do great things. You have to be optimistic about what technology can do in the hands of humans.” — Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation, USA

The Ins and Outs Of Fixed Wireless Technology

(And Why Your Business Should Be Using Fixed Wireless)

what is fixed wireless - geolinks.com

In the digital age, most businesses’ success and productivity rely on having fast, secure and reliable Internet connections. In fact, 70% of Americans reported that they used the Internet on a daily basis in 2016. And while the market is clearly saturated with various high speed Internet options to choose from, one innovative technology proves to be far superior and more reliable than the rest: Fixed Wireless Internet.

So, What Is Fixed Wireless Internet?

Simply put, fixed wireless provides high speed broadband Internet access to a single location via radio waves. By utilizing antennas, towers and an express line of sight (LoS) to transmit point-to-point signals, fixed wireless technology eliminates the need for costly terrestrial cable, satellite feeds or local phone lines.

Why Doesn’t Everyone Use Fixed Wireless?

There is a large misconception in the market about fixed wireless—people think it’s not a reliable technology. It is an ongoing challenge for Internet Service Providers to re-educate the market that the problem doesn’t lie in the technology itself but rather improper installation. In fact, the technology has been around since the 60’s and is actively utilized by large companies in the New York Stock Exchange, law enforcement and Militaries around the world. When deployed correctly, fixed wireless is the most effective and superior solution available on the market.

How Is Fixed Wireless Different Than Other Internet Options?

For starters, fixed wireless infrastructure can be assembled in a fraction of the time, drastically improving Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) speed to delivery and installation time. With an accelerated turnaround, select ISP’s are able to penetrate new markets faster than those deploying more traditional networks. Specifically, fixed wireless networks can access and service rural communities that other technologies simply can’t reach. For companies requiring services in populated urban areas, fixed wireless provides a dedicated and reliable connection.

How Will My Business Benefit From Fixed Wireless Technology?

Fact: In a world reliant on dependable, high-speed Internet, digital downtime can cost a company anywhere from $22,000 to $100,000 per minute.

Live in an area that’s quickly expanding? Construction may cause your fiber optic connection to consistently drop. Work in a communal office space or building? Your Internet could slow down considerably simply because everyone is sharing the same fiber optic line. Can you predict the weather? High winds, snow or a rainy day could disrupt your satellite Internet service for hours or days on end.

Enter: Fixed Wireless Internet.The Ins and Outs Of Fixed Wireless Technology - GeoLinks

When deployed and engineered properly, fixed wireless is unaffected by weather, eliminates shared connections, and avoids potential downtime caused by construction. Proven to be just as fast, if not faster, as fiber optic networks, GeoLinks’ Fixed Wireless network provides businesses with a dedicated connection that boasts 99.999% uptime, ultra-low latency and virtually no jitter. Secure your company’s competitive advantage today by making the switch to fixed wireless.

Want to learn more about how fixed wireless technology can help your business thrive? Be sure to ask your GeoLinks about making the switch to a fixed network today.