What is 5G technology and how will it change the world?

What is 5G
Students from the BCIT Telecommunications Systems Technician program are prepared for a career in 5G.

From transforming healthcare services to autonomous cars, the term ‘5G’ has been associated with a spectrum of opportunities across industries. So, what exactly is 5G and how does it affect our world?

According to BCIT Telecommunications Systems Technician Instructor Mike Lowe, 5G is the 5th generational mobile network. This new global wireless standard is a generational upgrade to the cellular network that will allow for faster, more reliable and efficient high speed data to operate wireless systems in telecommunications. It will enable a new kind of network that virtually connects everyone and everything together in a more uniform way.

The impact of 5G across industries

As the world is developing new technologies requiring wireless systems, there is a greater need for high speed data to support these technologies. The high speed, ubiquity, reliability, and low latency of 5G expands the mobile ecosystem to new industries and possibilities, including:

  • Vehicle communications – allowing for autonomous driven vehicles to have safe and reliable data to operate.
  • Healthcare – enabling machine-to-machine communications, such as a surgeon performing a surgery remotely using 5G connection.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – this is “everything connected to the internet” but with a focus to support the connectivity of communication between those items connected to the internet, such as smart plugs, home security monitors and smart speakers.
  • Shipping – allowing consumers to track packages in real time.
  • Smart cities and buildings – buildings with features that monitor air quality, manage power use, and technologies to help cities identify when garbage pick-up or snow removal is required.
  • Agriculture– autonomous vehicles for crop and soil management.

Now, with the rollout of 5G underway, the telecommunications industry in Canada expects to see an economic lift, which includes thousands of new jobs.

Understanding the safety of 5G

As with the adoption of any new technology, it is important to understand safety concerns that come with it.

“We have a responsibility to keep revisiting safety concerns to determine the accuracy of what we assume, observe, or measure. If these concerns are valid, then we must also find solutions to address them,” explains Mike. “While many of us accept that these ubiquitous technologies are safe, a lack of thorough understanding for 5G often leads to irrational fears and ideas.”

He also adds, “5G is going to take in an exponential amount of data from the world we live and interact with but it is also this technology that could fully unlock a world of opportunities.”

Preparing for a career in 5G

According to a report from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), the estimated economic impact of 5G deployment in Canada will reach $40 billion of annual GDP uplift by 2026, with 250, 000 permanent jobs added to the economy in the same timeframe. As industries prepare for changes brought upon by 5G, businesses are looking for skilled telecommunications professionals to support them in adopting this new technology.

The BCIT Telecommunications Systems Technician program delivers practical, applied training for work in the telecommunications industry including 5G, wireless communications, radio frequencies, fibre optics, data communications, and more. Students in this two-year program have opportunities to build industry connections and to choose from two specialization options – Telecommunications Networks and Radio Systems.

Registration is still open for the upcoming Fall intake of the BCIT Telecommunications Systems Technician program.


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