07 September. 2020

Is 5G really the end of fiber?

As the next generation of mobile technology is being rolled out, speculations that 5G will remove the need for fiber into the home are numerous. The same thing happened when 3G and 4G were introduced. However, with the luxury of hindsight, we can all agree that the rumors were unfounded. But the question today remains: will 5G be the end of fiber? The fact is that neither the capabilities nor the future prospects of the two solutions are really comparable.

Just recently, scientists in London created the world's fastest internet. With a whopping top speed of 178 terabitsper second, this super-connection – based on Geometric Shaping technology (GS) – is able to download the entire Netflix library in a matter of seconds. And yes, innovative new methods mean this technology can be implemented using the existing fiber network[1]. By comparison, the limit of 5G is 10GB/s, which is shared access and therefore in reality often slower than 10GB/s. And even though 178 terabits per second is still only obtained in labs, the fact that the existing fiber network can support GS technology makes fiber far superior to 5G.

So, let's be clear: 5G is in no way the end of fiber.

But even so, many end-users today are prone to contemplate whether they actually need a full fiber connection. They may be stuck with a slow connection and are considering which options they have for getting a faster alternative, but at the same time they can't fathom ever needing more than 10GB/s. They want their internet solution to be easy and hassle-free. It is one of those things that just need to work!

Therefore, 5G has a certain appeal as a) there is no need for digging up the front yard and b) it is advertised as the latest mobile solution that will soon be available almost everywhere with increased coverage and speeds that match fiber.

However, while this sounds like the ideal solution for many end-users, it will not be the reality for the vast majority of them. But how will they know if no one tells them?

Understanding the pros and cons of fiber and 5G is not an easy task. Therefore, we have uncovered three common myths that stand in the way of fiber adoption among end-users. Get our findings about these three myths as well as four central messages concerning fiber deployment and 5G directly from the FTTH Council Europe in this bite-sized content offer.

[1] http://leifshows.dk/2020/08/21/de-bygger-verdens-hurtigste-internet/

WANT TO KNOW MORE about why the issue of 5G and fiber isn’t a question of either/or?
Download our opinion paper Fiber versus 5G - is 5G really the end of fiber here

Icotera Opinion Paper: Fiber versus 5G