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What To Expect As Communications Networks Move to 5G

Benjamin Franklin said there are only two sure things in life: death and taxes. Well we’ve had some time to ruminate on this, and we’d like to throw another ‘sure thing’ into the mix. Technology is always going to advance. That shiny new phone you just bought? You’d better believe they’ll come out with another one next year. The new computer you built? It’s got a limited shelf life. Even security systems – long though they may live – are subject to the same forward trends that advance all aspects of technology. Like that shiny new phone, many security systems rely on wireless networks to do their job properly. These wireless networks are also constantly evolving, and while they may not be on the same year-to-year upgrade cycle as a phone, eventually this evolution leaves old technology in the dust. This isn’t a bad thing though! As we move from old outdated 2G connections into 4G, and soon 5G networks, security systems will start to see benefits that make them more secure and more reliable.

What Exactly Is 5G?

Anyone who’s used a cell phone in the last decade has probably heard of 3G and 4G, or LTE. This short hand stands for the generation of wireless communication technology that we’re using at that time. 2G is second generation, 3G is third generation and so on. As we move incrementally through these different generations, naturally features and capabilities change with them.

  • 1G (First Generation) Allowed for wireless voice communication only. The early day of cell phones before text messages were even a thing. 1G networks were utilized in the 1980s with those huge, awesome brick phones like you might see Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan use in A Night at the Roxbury (1998).

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  • 2G (Second Generation) Allowed cellular users to send Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Message Service (MMS) messages. 2G was the first time you were able to send text and picture messages to another cellular device. This overhaul in cellular capabilities also allowed for wireless applications of security systems. Eventually, with smaller incremental steps, 2.5G and 2.75G allowed for slow, rudimentary data transmission (allowing users to access a scaled-down version of the internet from mobile device.)
  • 3G (Third Generation) Saw improved data, video calling and the mobile internet that closer resembles what we use today. Once again, the network was stronger and more reliable than what we had used previously given the larger demand for smartphones with internet capabilities. The maximum speed of 3G is estimated to be around 2Mbps for non-moving devices which was a marketable step up from 2G which capped out at 50Kbps. This means that wireless security systems running on a 3G network were capable of sending signals more quickly.
  • 4G/LTE (Fourth Generation or Long Term Evolution) Is what most peoples’ cell phones are connected to right now. It’s a substantial improvement over 3G data allowing for up to 1Gbps data transfer for low-mobility communication. Being roughly 500x faster than 3G it’s obvious how this is the preferred connection when it comes to your building’s safety.
  • 5G (Fifth Generation) is the next step in wireless communication technology. It promises significantly faster data rates, higher connection density, lower latency, and energy savings. It’s predicted that 5G connection will be capable of data transfer speeds up to a whopping 20Gbps.

While most systems won’t utilize the power of a 5G connection for a few years, the mind boggles at how quickly security system panels will be able to communicate with monitoring stations and the proper authorities. When laid out, it’s clear to see that there have been monumental upgrades over even the last decade of wireless technology. However, some systems are still using 2G technology.

New Technology Is On the Way

Unfortunately, as we make room for new technology, sometimes we have to do away with the old. Such is the case with 2G systems. The reality is that with the demand for faster mobile connections, 2G just isn’t required any more. While upgrading an entire security system is a much larger undertaking than buying a new phone, once 2G is completely abolished, security systems that use it will no longer be operable. While this may be a frustrating notion to anyone who’s still set up with a 2G system, think of the positives.

The Benefits of 5G

It’s about to be a great time to upgrade your security system. As the move to 5G does away with 2G connections, upgrading to a system that takes full advantage of the system means that you’ll experience a major upgrade. Going from a 50Kbps network to potentially 20Gbps translates into a faster stronger connection and a more efficient security system. Plus, if you haven’t upgraded since 2G was the prevalent technology, chances are some of your other equipment could use a bit of a refresh too. The network isn’t the only thing that’s advanced over the years! Finally, upgrading to 5G means you probably won’t have to upgrade again for some time. Think about it, 2G technology came about in the 1980s, and we’ve been using 4G for the better part of a decade. Of course, something new will come along, but getting in on 5G now ensures that you’ll be set up with a fast and safe system for the foreseeable future!


The move between generations of wireless communication to where we are now has seen quite a few upgrades, but there’s no doubt that these advancements have made mobile communications and security systems better and stronger. If you’d like to talk about upgrading your 2G system to something more current, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-888-789-3473, or visit fire-monitoring.com for more information.

*Some information pulled from https://www.lifewire.com/1g-vs-2g-vs-2-5g-vs-3g-vs-4g-578681 and https://www.wiley.com/en-us/A+Comprehensive+Guide+to+5G+Security-p-9781119293040

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