Do You Still Need Fiber Internet Connectivity in a 5G World?


5G technology is still in its infancy, so we can forgive some of its quirks, like being hampered by certain types of walls and even foliage. Yes, 5G has a lot of promise—especially in a world where remote work becomes the norm and we need as much bandwidth and speed as we can get—but can it achieve all this all alone?

Let’s look at the rise of 5G and how fiber connectivity plays into leveraging it to the fullest.

The 5G Expansion: Adoption and Forecasts

2021 was a massive year for 5G adoption and the following years are expected to bring more significant milestones. Carriers and mobile phone manufacturers have already incorporated 5G in their releases.

By the end of 2022, 5G adoption is expected to reach one billion users. More than 3.3 billion people will use 5G by 2026—that’s a threefold increase in four years!

5G adoption
Image via Statista

If you look around, there’s probably a 5G cell phone or small cell near you already. It’s clear: 5G is already here, helping us work and transfer our data much faster. But there is still a lot of unaccomplished potential (more on that below). 

With the rapid rise of wireless connectivity, soon to be powered almost exclusively by 5G networks, we see a lot of small- and medium-business owners wondering if they should still invest in fiber connectivity.

The answer is always a resounding “yes.” Here’s why.

5G and Fiber Connectivity: Can You Have One without the Other?

It’s not just 5G adoption that’s on the rise—investments in fiber infrastructure are also soaring. Why bother with them when we’ll soon have excellent wireless connectivity?

Simply put, because Wi-Fi doesn’t exactly come from thin air—although it seems to. With 5G, we can have:

  • Up to 100% network coverage (perceived)
  • Up to 90% less energy needed to sustain a network
  • Up to 1000 times increase in bandwidth

…and many more perks. However, all of these benefits rely heavily on fiber infrastructure. 

5G uses “small cells” to extend the coverage of the network and deploy it closer to the end user—this is part of the reason why it has such excellent performance. Now, to deploy a lot of small cells (the first prerequisite of a dense 5G network), you need high-speed backhaul.

This is where fiber comes into play:

  • Fiber infrastructure offers the backhaul required for small cell deployment.
  • Moreover, it provides the flexibility and accessibility to support countless applications that the future heavily relies on: IoT and edge connectivity spring to mind here.
  • As the backbone of 5G networking, fiber infrastructure creates the path that sends “the internet” to small cells from macro sites.
  • Fiber infrastructure is future-proof and can meet the industry demands in performance and speed for years to come.
  • Lastly, fiber is the most resilient solution we have. Fiber networks aren’t affected by temperature fluctuations, extreme weather conditions, or electromagnetic fields. This means added network uptime, a crucial functionality for businesses.

Fiber Infrastructure for Small and Medium Businesses

Fiber is not a short-term investment. It is, however, an investment that will keep on producing ROI for decades. 

This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to wait decades to see the benefits of fiber (or 5G for that matter). At Heartland Technology Data Center (HTDC), we have helped dozens of Iowa-based businesses leverage fiber connectivity from day one.

Better security, improved speeds, and better uptime are just a few of the benefits of fiber infrastructure for local businesses. More importantly, when you opt for your own fiber connection, you are no longer tied to huge carriers and can avoid their monopoly and all that it entails: restricting clauses, inflexible scalability, shared connections that you can’t change and more.

Lastly, investing in fiber connectivity now will help make the most of 5G near you when it’s available. You can be one of the pioneers of your area, giving you the upper hand over your competitors. 

Still not sure that fiber infrastructure is the right choice for your company? At HDTC, fiber connectivity is one of the most sought after services we offer, but we know it’s not the ideal fit for everyone.

We’d love to help you choose the right match for your network; something that will serve you today and help you reach your long-term goals as well. Schedule your free consultation to talk to one of our networking experts!