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Speeds, feeds, bits and bytes is what typically comes to mind when thinking about standards-based 5G possibilities. The fact is, 5G will be much more. As an industry, we’re on a journey different than anything we’ve experienced in the past. Most of us remember the transition from 2G to 3G and then, 3G to 4G/LTE. Here we are again—so, what’s new and different this time? Why is this considered a pivotal moment?
"The network of the future is smart, dynamic and individual. It will redefine what connectivity means to a business"
We believe standards-based 5G will take people and businesses places they’ve never been with new experiences such as augmented realities, virtual presence, driverless cars, telemedicine and connected homes. Standards-based 5G will help enable all technology aspects. Primary uses include: enhanced mobile broadband, critical IoT solutions and low latency applications.
Speed is still important; however, we expect the network of the future will drive an entirely connected experience. This is where we’re headed as a society and we’ll need the network technology to deliver.
Let’s start with the basics—latency. Latency will play a powerful role in achieving a truly connected experience.
It impacts things like the time between selecting a web-link and seeing a webpage begin to load. Or, your device unlocking with fingerprint recognition systems. How frustrated are you when it takes even a second? Now, think about the importance of latency when it comes to remote surgery—a real possibility in the future.
Another example is with autonomous cars. Using live maps for real-time navigation is crucial to this vision. Ultra-low latency will be an essential part of making these live maps effective. Taking it a step further, think about how this plays into Smart Cities or Smart Campuses. When cars and traffic lights can “talk” to each other, it can improve traffic management. The data from the sensors and devices can be used to effectively manage traffic within a neighborhood, a university campus, or even an entire city.
Standards-based 5G also will introduce new elements to network complexity and flexibility, including millimeter wave and network slicing. This means that the network will have more variables and ability to optimize an enterprise network experience as well as the network itself.
Network slicing is the ability to create custom levels of network performance and latency commitments for businesses. While some network performance and latency management capabilities exist today, network slicing will be inherent to the 5G network and will be a powerful capability that gives businesses even more control.
Retail stores, for example, have multiple users accessing the network at any given time, whether it’s Point of Sale (POS) equipment, employees or customers. With network slicing, the shop owner can create custom “slices” of the network for each. By applying specific parameters, the owner can ensure the POS equipment receives the highest priority, while an employee streaming video on their break receives a smaller slice of the pie.
The network of the future is smart, dynamic and individual. It will redefine what connectivity means to a business. And, this new reality is a lot closer than we think.
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