Networks

 10G: Big Cable’s (Strange) Answer to the Threat of 5G Wireless

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The rise of 5G, or Fifth-Generation Cellular Wireless, is the next major wireless internet upgrade. Offering greater speed, reach, and responsiveness, 5G is nothing short of a technological revolution. Due to 5G’s popularity in the news and with consumers, it is not surprising that cable companies are beginning to fear this coming change to wireless internet. At CES, big cable announced their new 10G initiative, which while sounds promising, had me questioning several aspects of this new technology. Here are some of my beginning thoughts.

Big Cable’s 10G must be better/newer since the number is twice as high, right?

Hold on, not so fast (see what I did there?)

First, let’s decipher the terminology both 5G and 10G uses. The ‘G’ in 5G indicates the generation of wireless technology. Most generations are defined by their data transmission speeds; however, each generation is also created per a break in encoding methods (thus making the current generation incompatible with the previous). Big cable’s 10G on the other hand, isn’t referring to a generational count, but rather the type of network that world cable groups are attempting to achieve: 10 gigabits. As soon as I heard the name, 10G, I was immediately taken back by the sheer lack of creativity of the name; the marketing initiative is somewhat ridiculous (check out their website).

It is no question that traditional cable companies and television providers are struggling to compete with emerging technologies/companies such as 5G and Netflix, so it is safe to say that this announcement of 10G is warranted, yet does not have any backing to it whatsoever. It is critical to understand that these 10G speeds are still years away and there are little to no details are provided how the technology will even work (besides being able to work with existing lines).

Another troubling thought I had about 10G was its ability to be used by the current market. Currently, consumers can’t broadcast at 10 gigabit-per-second speeds. Additionally, there are only a few routers (which cost hundreds of dollars) that have the ability to access this kind of connection. So, even if 10G was introduced today or even in the coming months, most consumers would not be able to use it, further strengthening my case for this announcement to be strange, rather than illuminating.

While the naming convention might be a poorly devised publicity stunt, this announcement at CES is definitely exciting, especially since cable providers like Charter, Cox, and Comcast are all on board. Both wireless and fixed networks are necessary for any home or office, and as the IoT grows, the 10 or so internet-connected devices in our home can quickly expand to more than 50 (all which will be competing for capacity). Hopefully, we will find out more details of how 10G will be implemented, provided, and used in the coming weeks; however, I for one, am not holding my breath.

Sources:

Image and Content: NCTA. (07 Jan 2019). Introducing 10G: The Next Great Leap for Broadband. Retrieved from https://www.ncta.com/media/media-room/introducing-10g.

NCTA. (10 Jan 2019). 10G: The Next Great Leap for Broadband. Retrieved from https://www.10gplatform.com/.

 

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