5G Forces A Choice: Mobility Or Functionality
Cellular connectivity often has a higher power draw than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.Science says that 5G will only increase that device power draw in order to provide for the added speed and bandwidth. We’ve seen this power increase in the PC market for years: faster processors, or even higher clock rates of the same processors, means higher power consumption. But that also means consumers and OEMs will be forced to make an unsavory choice. They’ll either need more frequent device battery changes and charges in order to stay mobile or be stationary and wired into an outlet to use their new power-hungry 5G devices with full functionality (like streaming HD video).
A Few Approaches
Currently, it seems that manufacturers are preparing to address the power problem that 5G presents by outfitting devices such as phones, internet of things (IoT) sensors and security cameras with larger batteries but eliminating power-hungry features.
For example, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G-ready model appears to have a much higher power consumption rate than the 4G model (based on battery size and mAh per hour of usage time comparison). Many have questioned the power consumption efficiency of 5G versus 4G devices.
The truth is that this approach may not work long term. It will be a constant cat and mouse game between connectivity evolution from network providers and power and function capabilities from manufacturers. Moreover, this approach could stunt innovation — because manufacturers are so concentrated on providing devices with adequate power consumption to keep pace with network operational speeds instead of developing cutting-edge features.