Every one of the large network transitions has brought about a fundamental change in the way we communicate: from voice (1G), to text (2G), to media (3G), to applications (4G).
5G will expand beyond the handset and disrupt how we will do business in general. It will allow countless items we use in our daily lives to communicate with the world in new, more advanced ways – from cars and industrial equipment, even to human implants, the possibilities are endless with how this technology will change the way we connect to the world around us.
5G Will Offer More Data Than Ever Before
With lower latency and faster speeds, 5G will enable technologies such as AI, edge computing and automated control, to enable an entirely new level of IoT use cases that will create and drive revenue growth opportunities. By offering unlimited end points, availability is no longer a concern.
How you organize all this data, however, will be more important than ever. With the ability to process data at speeds never experienced before, we will be constantly flooded with tons of new information. Discovering which data is actionable and organizing it in order to make changes to improve the overall user experience will be the difference between success and failure in this new environment.
The Workforce Is Now Wireless
With the rise in the mobile workforce, productivity needs to continue beyond the infrastructure of the office environment. As 5G rolls out and becomes a reliable connection, mobile and remote resources such as autonomous vehicles will become an extension of the WAN, providing unprecedented access to corporate resources including voice over IP, video conferencing and VPN.
Hospitals and clinics can take advantage of 5G’s high-speed, low latency network to improve the patient experience and optimize workflows in the healthcare industry. 5G will be enable download and uploading of large files with detailed images and data, such as MRI and PET scans in a matter of seconds versus hours, enabling a more effective and advanced collaboration among healthcare practitioners.
With 5G, the way we handle infrastructure will change significantly as cellular capabilities reach acceptable speeds and capacity. 5G opens the door to take on more device connections, reducing the risk of performance issues for governments, healthcare, logistics and enterprises.
An Evolving Infrastructure to Plan for 5G
Along with the many benefits and innovation that come with 5G’s exponentially higher throughput, it will also mean significant outlays in terms of infrastructure changes. Understand first that there are barriers to wholesale adoption – not the least of which is its limited coverage (5G cells are expected to reach a mere 250 meters vs. the 150 km reach of 3G and 4G cells), and its inability to penetrate concrete.
These issues will demand substantial technology investments in reliable grid cells and repeaters at a rate of 1000 times the number for 4G, making it better suited to urban centers where cells can be situated on any number of structures. Outside populated areas, deployment will not be simple. One option could be leveraging the resources of utility operations running pre-existing networking grids.
Understanding the risks and rewards of 5G deployment is crucial when planning. When the time comes, 5G rollout will move very quickly. Organizations are wise to start introducing scalability and flexibility to their infrastructures today, so their networks are prepared when the time for deployment arrives.
There are four strategic approaches that can help organizations minimize the risk and maximize the benefits of 5G adoption. These include:
Temporary reconfiguration of existing network infrastructures
When evaluating your existing network infrastructure for 5G, it’s important to ensure that your setup is flexible and scalable for the coming technologies. Currently, many businesses are relying on MPSL cabling for their connectivity. 5G could replace those physical lines with a 5G base unit mounted on a pole outside on the street. Contractors would then need to create 5G hot spots, extending enhanced cellular coverage into structures such as large buildings, transit systems and convention centers.
Long-term Hybrid Infrastructure planning
Using a hybrid cloud approach, organizations can benefit from the security of on-premise systems, and take advantage of the flexibility of a cloud-based environment. When planning for 5G it’s important to have an infrastructure in place that is both flexible and scalable to make the next generation of connectivity an easy adoption.
Link Balancing at Layer 2
Many link balancing devices integrate at the Transport Layer (Layer 4 of the OSI model). Deploying a device at the Data Link Layer (Layer 2) allows for transparent integration without having to make any significant changes to the existing network setup. It also reduces the risk of jitter, which occurs at Layer 4.
Integration with WiFi 6
With 5G’s challenge to travel through buildings, it’s important to acknowledge how it will work together with WiFi 6 to provide uninterrupted connectivity for IoT devices. WiFi 6 is set to replace WiFi 5, offering almost triple the speed of the earlier generation. While the new 9.6Gbps offer doesn’t compare to 5G speeds, its main benefit is capacity to handle more devices without hurting performance. Through network optimization, you also have the control to be able to set application priority over the bandwidth to ensure business continuity for critical applications.
Prepare for the Future
Not only will incorporating a 5G-ready SD-WAN solution into a network help prepare organizations for the future, it will also help their operations today. By improving network performance, reducing downtime, increasing efficiencies, and offering greater visibility and control over network traffic, they will be able to run more smoothly, while thinking ahead to what the future brings.
About the Author
Rob Doucette, Vice President, Product Management, Martello. Rob is responsible for defining and driving company-wide product strategy by analyzing market trends and outlining plans for future product positioning to meet the market needs. As VP of Product Management, Rob is able to use his broad experience to align sales, marketing and R&D to accelerate market growth. Savvy about data visualization, analytics and the application of AI in IT operations, Rob has a keen eye for ways to propel the next phase of innovation. For more information visit www.martellotech.com or contact Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured image: ©Metamorworks