Pandemic-necessitated remote work and increased reliance on online apps and sites for routine everyday tasks like shopping and transportation showed us that Internet connection is a critical utility. It also proved that getting connected is not enough -- the speed and quality of that connection have a huge impact on how we carry out day-to-day activities. In a timely coincidence, this reliance on connectivity comes at a time when networks are improving their service to supply that exact speed and reliability.
Introducing a Whole New Level of Speed: 5G
5G promises to be faster with less latency when connecting to the network. The speeds afforded by 5G mean that visions for smart, connected cities can be logistically achieved as 5G networks will be better able to handle more users, lots of sensors, and heavy traffic. The Department of Veterans Affairs is already tapping into 5G to allow doctors to use augmented reality to look at and manipulate large imaging files, like MRIs or CT scans.
5G is here today, rolling out on networks nationwide. However, it can only be accessed by 5G compatible devices. So, should we all run out and upgrade our phones? Experts say, not yet. While median 5G download speeds are higher than their 4G speeds, there is still a great deal of inconsistency depending on location, carrier, and device.
Wi-Fi 6 Is Here but Wi-Fi 7 Is Already on the Horizon
The current WiFi standard is 802.11 and is working well within agency buildings for the most part, but it is aging and to keep up with exploding wireless data demand, upgrades will be necessary. Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E (Extended) will be available within the next year and Wi-Fi 7 soon after. These standards and the technologies that run on them offer greater throughput and connectivity for end-user mobile devices, internet-of-things devices and latency-sensitive applications.
Broadband Is Expanding as an Executive Order
To take advantage of these standards, users need access. The FCC is responsible for monitoring the availability and use of Broadband nationwide. In fact, the 2020 Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act requires the FCC to improve and update its broadband maps. Understanding coverage is the first step to improving it. The expansion of broadband service is a key piece of President Biden's infrastructure plan.
There are a number of events to get up to speed on wireless technology, standards, and applications.
- Empowering Government with Emerging IT (December 15, 2021; webcast) -- Robotic process automation, machine learning, artificial intelligence, 5G, and more are revolutionizing government today. This panel will discuss how agencies are capitalizing on imaginative and innovative technologies in government today.
- TMF Forward (December 16, 2021; virtual) -- With a total of $1.5 billion in available TMF dollars, these new funds present an immense opportunity for our nation to modernize our aging government technology systems. This event will showcase the tangible value of TMF, build support, drive agency adoption, ensure future funding for this important program, and improve outcomes for all Americans.
- CES 2022 (January 5-9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV) -- CES is the proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovators. This is where the world's biggest brands do business and meet new partners, and the sharpest innovators hit the stage. The show includes a large number of government-focused sessions with high profile government IT leaders.
- Understanding Millimeter Wave Spectrum for 5G Networks (5G Americas; white paper) -- 5G is expected to enable further economic growth and digitization of a connected society of people and all possible things. 5G is gearing up to enable new use cases such as smart cities, smart agriculture, smart grids, energy, smart manufacturing, autonomous driving, logistics, public safety and numerous other verticals. The daunting challenge to reach these heights is the availability of useful and applicable spectrum.
- How Congress and the Biden Administration Could Jumpstart Smart Cities With AI (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation; white paper) -- The next wave of connected and intelligent technologies, including sensors, 5G, and artificial intelligence (AI), holds great promise for improving the energy efficiency of many systems, including urban systems.
Browse GovEvents' calendar for a complete listing of 5G, wireless, and broadband-related conferences, virtual events, and webinars. GovWhitePapers also offers 1000+ white papers, case studies, and infographics.