What needs to happen for the promise of 5G to become reality

Introduction

5G has been creating hype ever since its announcement and mobile operators are working hard to make it a reality sooner. It is being rolled out in various cities of the world and is expected to cover 40% of the world by 2024 and handle 25% of entire mobile data. On the road to 5G deployment, operators must understand the requirement, prioritize network testing and deployment activities, and finally commercialise 5G services to businesses and consumers. 

Understand frequency range required to deploy 5G

Previous generation mobile networks established on low-band spectrum broadcasted waves from macro cells and radio towers. These were capable enough to travel long distances and giving reliable service in areas with broader network coverage. But the frequency required to operate new-generation of network – 5G is not the same anymore. 5G uses high-frequency radio waves in addition to the low and medium range of frequencies applied in earlier cellular networks. The 5G frequency bands are much more complex including sub-6 GHz which spans 450 MHz to 6 GHz, mmWave frequencies spread over 24.250 GHz to 52.600 GHz and unlicensed spectrum. 

Network density and small cell infrastructure 

Though 5G uses higher range of frequency, it falls short in travelling long distances. Here, comes the small cells that play an integral part in 5G infrastructure. Deployed in large numbers, it can travel long distances and enhance capacity to provide new-gen services such as Internet of Things, remote medicine, smart cities, etc. Nevertheless, installation of small cells is challenging as it demands for 5 to 20 times more cells compared to LTE and fiber cabling around 130 to 150 billion USD of investment. Mobile operators are striving to enable 5G mobile network services by increasing network density of small cells on feasible locations and conduct 5G network testing to ensure they are working fine to give desired output.

Structuring 5G DNA to unlock growth areas

While the growth of 5G in the near future is promising with compelling new opportunities for telecommunication companies, they have to mix-and-match multiple technologies under different circumstances to capture value and gain significant profits. Providing new business models, extracting vast amount of data from thousands or more devices connected through IoT, enabling automation, flexibility and quality, ensuring trusted network connection and availability 24X7 can assist businesses in improving their efficiency and lead to growth.

Demand for 5G and IoT is scaling to heights 

Internet of Things (IoT) have seen a spike in popularity in the last couple of years. However, with many new wireless-enabled devices connected through the network nowadays have created justifiable concerns and how it can be effectively managed. 5G is finally answering the call for serving the rise in demand for internet-connected technology. 5G will enable faster, stable and secure connectivity as it will be deployed across different kinds of industries to connect more and more devices with better capability. Mobile operators have focused on enterprise and ultra-speed networking of industries, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), Customer Premise Equipment (CPE), video broadcasting, mobile computing for early 5G applications. With more adoptions in the near future, they will explore new opportunities and use it to stream Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality applications (high bandwidth is required), critical real-time communications in factories such as factory automation, autonomous vehicles (AVs). 

Drive digital transformation with 5G technology

5G can help companies fundamentally transform their traditional business operations to a new way with much more efficiency and effectiveness. With the evolution of Industry 4.0, enterprises are embracing it to digitalize and optimise their operations through various modes including 5G private network. Now, as 5G is being commercialised on a larger geographical area, a broad array of enterprises is getting a wide scope to build 5G private network that can serve their connectivity needs and is more secured than public 5G network. Mobile network operators are creating several private 5G offerings and assist in imparting reliable, low latency and highly secured network to the organizations.

Conclusion

5G has created a lot of buzz around the world. 5G opens a lot of opportunities for telcos to deploy and enable modern use cases clubbed with other emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Big Data, Mobile Edge Cloud Computing and many more. But at the same time, they are concerned about the costs involved in the 5G deployment and Return on Investments (ROI). A 5G strategy can pave the way in unlocking multiple growth areas for the rollout of fifth-generation technology and make it available to enterprise customers and consumers. 

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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