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How 5G Will Impact Mobile App Testing

Mobile App Testing
The rollout of 5G networks is one of the most anticipated technological developments in recent years. 5G delivers substantially higher speeds, lower latency, and greater capacity than existing cellular networks. These improvements will bring about major changes in how we use and test mobile apps. In this post, we'll explore the key ways 5G will impact mobile app testing.

Faster Speeds Enable New Testing Approaches

One of the most touted benefits of 5G is the incredibly fast speeds it will enable. 5G networks are expected to be up to 100 times faster than existing 4G LTE networks. For mobile app testing, these faster speeds open up new possibilities for real-time testing and continuous integration.
With 5G, testers will be able to stream high-definition video and large files to and from devices without any buffering or lag. This allows for real-time visibility into the app experience. Teams can view exactly how an app is performing on a device at any given moment. Real-time visibility improves debugging capabilities and allows issues to be caught faster.
The faster speeds also enable effective continuous integration and delivery in mobile app development workflows. Teams can push updates over the air rapidly without having to rely on WiFi networks. Builds can be transferred back and forth from devices much quicker. Tests can also be run on a very frequent basis to catch any regressions quickly after new builds.
// Example of a simple React Native app test using Detox testing framework

describe('MyApp', () => {
  beforeEach(async () => {
    await device.reloadReactNative();

  it('should show welcome screen', async () => {
    await expect(element('welcome'))).toBeVisible();

  it('should show login screen after tap', async () => {
    await element('login-button')).tap();
    await expect(element('login'))).toBeVisible();
As this example shows, 5G allows mobile teams to write faster integration and end-to-end tests leveraging real devices and immediately push changes to those devices to validate them. Testing can happen continuously at much greater speeds.

Lower Latency Critical for 5G Apps

In addition to faster speeds, 5G also delivers much lower latency than existing networks. Latency refers to the time it takes for data to get from one point to another. 4G networks have average latencies around 50ms, while 5G brings that down to 1ms or lower.
This reduced latency will be critical for many emerging types of mobile apps that rely on real-time interactivity. For example, mobile multiplayer gaming, augmented reality experiences, remote control apps, and industrial automation apps will all require very low latency connectivity.
As a result, app testing will need to validate that these next-gen mobile apps perform well within the tight latency constraints of 5G networks. Testing will need to verify not just whether something works, but whether it works within the time frame expected by users.
Some types of testing that will be important for validating low latency 5G app performance:
  • Load testing - simulating many concurrent users and interactions to detect any impact on response times
  • Stress testing - overwhelming the app with extreme workloads to force latency issues
  • Soak testing - running tests over an extended time period to catch latency degradation
  • Bandwidth throttling - simulating real world network conditions to uncover latency problems
Testing environments will need to be configured to simulate the capabilities of 5G networks accurately. Testing on real 5G infrastructure will also be important.

Higher Bandwidth Allows Bigger App Payloads

In addition to lower latency, 5G also offers substantially higher bandwidth and capacity. Download and upload speeds will be multiple times faster than what's possible on 4G.
This increased bandwidth will remove limitations on app payload sizes. Mobile apps will be able to send and receive bigger files and more data. For example, high fidelity mobile video streaming, massive file downloads, and data-intensive apps will all be possible.
For testing teams, this means mobile apps can be exercised with much larger payloads than before. Instead of testing with small mock responses, actual API payloads can be used. High resolution image and video assets can be utilized.
Higher bandwidth will also enable more rigorous performance and load testing. Teams will be able to overwhelm apps with larger amounts of data and simulate many simultaneous users.
Being able to test mobile apps under heavy bandwidth strain is important to prevent crashes and failures. Problems that only occur with heavy usage can be caught earlier.

5G Requires Cloud-Based Test Infrastructure

To effectively test 5G enabled mobile apps, testing needs to happen in cloud-based environments. Since 5G networks are still being rolled out, real 5G test labs are limited. Utilizing cloud infrastructure helps solve this.
With cloud-based device testing, apps can be tested on real 5G devices hosted in data centers with 5G coverage. Devices can be provisioned on demand instead of needing to be set up manually.
Cloud testing also provides configurable network simulation tools. This allows modifying network conditions to emulate 5G characteristics before full rollout. Teams can simulate low latency and higher bandwidth scenarios.
Other benefits of cloud-based testing include:
  • Easy parallelization - Running tests concurrently on multiple devices
  • Global device access - Using devices across geographical locations
  • Automated workflows - Integrating testing into CI/CD pipelines
  • Centralized reporting - Tracking test execution and debugging across devices
As 5G networks launch, having cloud based testing that can keep up with rapid iterations will be key.
// Example using AWS Device Farm to run sample Appium test on cloud device

const { RemoteWebDriver, By, until } = require('selenium-webdriver');
const { DeviceFarm } = require('aws-devicefarm-testgrid-utils');

const test = new DeviceFarm({
  // AWS configuration, device settings

(async function example() {

  const driver = new RemoteWebDriver(await test.getWebDriver(), 
    await test.getExecutor());
  await driver.get('');

  const input = await driver.findElement('search'));
  await input.sendKeys('Hello World!');

  const button = await driver.findElement('submit'));

  // Assertions for validation
  // ...
  await driver.quit();
  await test.stop();


Intelligent Test Automation Will Be Key

As 5G enables more complex mobile apps and faster development cycles, intelligent test automation will become critical to scale mobile testing. Manual testing processes will not be sustainable.
Teams will need to increasingly rely on solutions like:
  • AI-based test generation - Automatically generating test cases rather than manual scripting
  • Computer vision testing - Leveraging image recognition for visual validations
  • ML test analytics - Identifying problematic test areas through data analysis
  • Automated reporting - Applying intelligence to surface insightful test results
Adopting these techniques will help test automation keep pace with 5G driven development. Testing will need to become smarter and faster to cover expanded use cases.
The rollout of 5G networks represents a major milestone for mobile that will also have significant implications for how mobile apps are tested. 5G introduces new performance considerations around speed, latency, and bandwidth. To deliver robust and scalable testing, teams will need to adopt real-time testing, leverage cloud-based infrastructure, and integrate intelligent automation. With the right strategy, mobile testing can evolve to keep driving innovation in the 5G era.