5G, ImageQuest

Several year-end stories are noting that we’re not there yet with 5G.

The Wall Street Journal (paywall) quotes several CIOs as seeing this new technology needing a couple more years to be fully deployed. Yes, phone manufacturers are starting to offer 5G capabilities but most see the actual promise of 5G needing more time for development and deployment.

The promise of 5G is instant response due to a less than one millisecond network latency, plus much greater capacity than current networks. 5G will power the enormous data streams behind self-driving cars, transportation sensors,  and other “Internet of Things” equipment.

5G’s “superfast mobile networks will enable internet-connected devices and sensors deployed in manufacturing, transportation, retail and other sectors to transmit and analyze large amounts of information,” the Journal wrote. “That extra data can be fed into software programs aimed at improving everything from production processes to customer services, especially when combined with artificial intelligence.”

An added benefit of 5G is companies won’t need to add expensive fiber capacity to ramp up large data projects or expansions.

But it’s just not there yet, the WSJ concluded. Only a few U.S. cities have 5G networks, mobile carriers are just starting to release 5G phones, and developers haven’t produced many apps to use 5G’s capabilities.

Of course, the giant CES (Consumer Electronics) show in Las Vegas this week will unveil some 5G gear, as will other global technology shows throughout the first quarter.

But make no mistake: Experts believe 5G needs about two more years to develop. So if someone’s trying to sell you 5G equipment today, you’d better take a very close look at its capabilities – and what’s being promised.