The fifth generation of wireless technology is gradually moving towards enterprise, as the telecommunications industry expects the deployment of 5G to have a massive economic impact on the way business is done across the world. As network operators increase their 5G testing in 2018, and standards bodies continue to set 5G specifications, business customers are interested in what’s in 5G for them.
While 5G wireless technology is still in development, forward-thinking network analysts and companies are banking on the promise of faster wireless network speeds and greater capacity. Telecom operators will continue to test their 5G wireless products and 5G fixed broadband services throughout 2018 and hope to begin commercial deployments in 2019, with 5G-enabled smartphones and devices available by 2021. 5G mobile services probably won’t happen until 2025.
Even though the development process is just beginning, companies can expect 5G to improve business productivity and efficiency with improved wireless broadband speed and capabilities, according to Will Townsend, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy in Austin, Texas.
New 5G services for businesses and consumers will be rolled out in stages, Townsend said. This year, some telecom providers are planning to pilot pre-commercial 5G fixed wireless broadband services, which use wireless network technology rather than fixed lines.
Currently, telecommunications operators operate 4G networks which include LTE, LTE-Advanced and Advanced Pro. At maximum 4G speeds, mobile devices can exchange data from 100 Mbps up to 1 Gbps. New 5G technology promises top speeds of up to 10 Gbps. This kind of massive speed improvement over 4G is the key to unlocking the benefits of 5G wireless technology, Townsend said.
Prepare for 5G in business
For industries such as healthcare, financial services, energy and other field service organizations that require low latency and high throughput, 5G will have a significant impact, Townsend said.
Businesses with specialized communication requirements, such as Internet of Things applications, self-driving cars, and certain manufacturing processes, may reap the benefits of 5G wireless technology before others, according to Sundeep Rangan, a researcher at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Professor Tandon School of Engineering at New York University. “If 5G can be combined with other teleconferencing technologies, especially virtual reality and augmented reality, we could see a improvement of business communication. “
Some companies starting to prepare for 5G wireless technology are appointing C suite executives and other IT leaders to review the internet of things and other potential applications that can take advantage of 5G capabilities, Townsend said. Having someone focused on tech and studying 5G right now is the best way to prepare, he added.
One company that is embracing 5G preparation earlier than others is Odessa Medical Center Health System, based in Odessa, Texas, an organization of 28 facilities employing more than 2,250 people. The medical center has 5G on its radar as something for the future, according to IT director Brad Shook. To prepare for 5G wireless technology, the medical center that serves an area of 17 counties upgraded its wireless network in 2016. The medical center then saw the need to prepare for 5G wireless technology, a Shook said. When 5G devices are used, the Odessa network will be able to support them.
Increased bandwidth and speed will help hospital departments like radiology, for example, which sends massive amounts of data to its image archiving and communication systemShook added.
One of the great advantages of 5G is its support for network slicing, where operators can partition a single 5G network into multiple isolated virtual slices for its corporate customers, with each slice serving a different commercial service, said Townsend.
Telehealth is increasingly used to connecting doctors to patients in remote locations, for example. Telesurgery requires low latency, high speed connections available in real time. Eventually, a hospital will be able to use 5G to slice up its networks, Townsend said. One slice could handle telesurgery, sending huge amounts of video data to a remote location, for example, while another slice could handle more routine work at the nurse station or wireless access. guests of a hospital to ensure that its other business segments have separate and secure virtual services. their own network slices.
Operators advance on 5G wireless technology
Network splitting is only part of the new service-based architecture taking shape through the development of 5G standards, according to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). 3GPP brings together seven standards development organizations to create specifications for cellular telecommunications network technologies.
At the end of 2017, 3GPP announced a new model based on 5G services for network operators. The organization said the model adopts principles such as modularity, reusability and autonomy of network functions and was chosen so that deployments can take advantage of the latest virtualization and software technologies. The greater agility of the model will help operators respond more quickly to the needs of their business customers, according to 3GPP.
The organization plans to deliver more 5G specifications in June 2018.
In addition to standardization work, Verizon will continue to test 5G networks, spanning 11 major metropolitan areas this year, and plans to demonstrate the capabilities of 5G wireless technology at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, China. South Korea.
For its part, AT&T has extended its 5G fixed wireless testing to include Magnolia, a home and lifestyle brand in its store called the Silos in Waco, Texas. AT&T is testing a millimeter wave spectrum to spread connections across the site over Wi-Fi. It will also test prototype 5G radio and antennae and use AT&T FlexWare, its network function virtualization product, as a router for the 5G network. AT&T said it hopes faster wireless speeds will benefit employees who use mobile point-of-sale devices and wireless devices to manage back-office operations, in addition to consumers.
There is a lot of testing that needs to be done before network operators bring 5G services to market. In addition to pilot projects and standards development, federal and state access regulations and local permits need to be established to allow telecommunications companies to install more fiber. Additional fiber is needed to meet the data demands that will come with 5G, according to Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp., a telecommunications and data communications consultancy.
The need to install fiber closer to the consumer’s location, where connections could be supplemented with 5G wireless connections, is why new capacity is needed, Deloitte wrote in its upgrade report. communication infrastructure of July 2017.
For now, operators and telecommunications operators are paying the price for 5G investments. Eventually, businesses will need to consider spending on upgrades to fiber optics and other physical equipment to move to 5G. But IT leaders aren’t yet making strategic commitments to 5G products or services that they can’t even buy yet, Nolle said. “It’s too far.”
The future of 5G
The ability of users to consume data is at the heart of the 5G challenge.
With mobile devices being used to access more data, 5G could have the biggest impact in the corporate data center, according to Craig Mathias, director of Farpoint Group, a wireless and mobile consulting company in Ashland, Massachusetts. , adding that 5G wireless broadband services will be able to handle a variety of traffic and application demands. Still, the surge in 5G adoption is unlikely to start until 2023, he added. Since organizations have different timelines and strategies, implementing 5G is not universal.
Ultimately, organizations will have to cope with the demand for data from 5G-enabled devices, which will put a strain on data centers. But higher wireless capacity will cause far fewer bottlenecks due to more demands on the data center, he said.
As the business cases for 5G evolve, businesses will find new ways to leverage 5G wireless technology. Ultimately, if carriers can achieve true 5G ubiquity, 5G could one day replace Wi-Fi, Townsend said.
In the meantime, businesses may consider increasing their investments in fiber and 5G devices and prepare for the phased deployment of fixed 5G wireless services, followed by mobile cellular services.