The next generation of mobile internet connectivity is nearly here – welcome to the new world of 5G networks! Many businesses are busy working on 5G-ready devices and systems, with launches expected around the globe by 2020. These advancements will bring faster connection speeds, lower latency, massive data capacity, and more reliable connectivity to nearly all corners of the world. Thanks to 5G, those in densely populated areas will enjoy faster mobile connections, and those in rural areas can expect more consistent performance with the expansion of cell sites. Some tech providers like Qualcomm predict that 5G will be as revolutionary as electricity; eventually becoming a ‘general purpose technology’ similar to the automobile or electricity, having a significant impact on the economy and many industries. (Source: Fierce Telecom).
The new networking standard will see average download speeds of around 1GB and will work in tandem with existing 3G and 4G technology, bringing mobile internet connections that will power new services in healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment, agriculture, retail, transport, and more. 5G will also play a serious role in propelling the Internet of Things (IoT) era making it possible to push connected smart devices into the mainstream. Companies will benefit from collecting and aggregating massive amounts of received data from connected devices, turning that data into valuable insights. A study by Machina Research predicts IoT will account for one-fourth of the global 41 million 5G connections in 2024. (Source: Telecom TV). But with all these advancements on the horizon, what will it mean for mobile network operators and for businesses looking for new opportunities? Let’s take a look.
Moving beyond rigid, legacy architectures
Industry insiders believe that IoT innovation will include a shift in network architectures, moving away from the rigidity of legacy network to a software-defined or programmable infrastructure. Nokia Networks talks about programmable networks as enabling 5G -“Programmable radio and core networks are automatically re-shaped in real time to adapt to changing demands.” (Source: Nokia Networks). Programmable networks will help create efficiency and flexibility into the network so it can scale to meet customers and partner needs in real time. It will also allow service providers and businesses to offer new services and monetize other offerings, which may include areas like robotics, remote healthcare, live video streaming, augmented reality or smart metering, critical lifeline services, and much more. With these capabilities, plus the continued adoption of cloud technologies, companies can take advantage of 5G to explore new revenue streams and continue on their path towards digitalization.
What about network slicing?
Network slicing is an essential piece to the 5G puzzle because with it network operators can orchestrate specific capabilities across one shared infrastructure. Essentially, operators can quickly create different “slices” of the network – delivered as customized services for a particular customer or industry.
As operators build-in network slicing capabilities, they’ll be able to hand-select characteristics needed per slice to reach 5G capabilities. A mission-critical IoT application might require extremely low latency with more throughput, for example. Or virtual reality applications may require connection density and network efficiency attributes. Operators and service providers can also offer as a stand-alone product where the networks are programmed explicitly for the device, access, transport, and a core network – so any changes made to that slice are independent of the rest of the network. Because network resources can be better divided and optimized using a network slicing model, operators will, in turn, be nimble and ultimately more cost-effective. While end-users won’t necessarily realize their 5G networks are utilizing network slicing functionality, it will provide a better user experience for end users.
Getting your slice
Many believe the ability to right-size mobile connectivity by use case using network slicing will be key to 5G network adoption. As 5G deployment continues to evolve along with LTE-A 4G, low power wide area network (LPWAN), organizations should take special consideration to ensure future IT projects are forward-compatible with 5G. If you want help putting together a 5G roadmap to be first-mover in the 5G era, talk to Telapprise! We can help you identify which operators will best meet your 5G needs and map out how to reap the biggest rewards.