There is little doubt that 5G is a new milestone – the likes of which has rarely been seen since the advent of wireless networking. Why is 5G so different from 4G or all other standards that preceded it? A lot of people operate under the assumption that yet another iteration of the ‘G’ just means better speeds and lower latency. While 5G certainly mean those things, it is paradigm altering in the sense that it comes built-in with enhanced capabilities.
For instance, with 5G, we will be able to fully support edge computing as the industry moves away from centralised data centres and closer to users to ensure better services.
5G also supports network slicing that can enable operators and industry verticals to pretty much ‘own’ their pizza slice of the network pie, who can now build their private cloud within their datacenters for example.
5G technology – What sets it apart?
5G is the largest ever improvement we have seen on the packet core side of wireless technology. 5G Core forms the backbone of the network and connects all the base stations and radio heads. The technology is based on three fundamental protocols including:
- Service-based architecture (that enables it to move away from highly mobile-centric wireless networks – 4G, 3G and prior iterations – towards more standard web protocols)
- Enables a much higher degree of automation (that can empower the billions of mushrooming IoT devices worldwide)
Apart from these fundamental differences, 5G also comes equipped with a host of technical benchmarks including:
- 10 to 100x speed improvement over 4G networks
- 1-millisecond latency
- Up to 100x number of connected devices per unit area (compared with 4G LTE)
- 99.999% availability
- 90% reduction in network energy usage
- Security embedded in the network core
How COVID-19 and the advent of Industry 4.0 has set the stage for 5G
Mobility solutions on the whole have been long in the offing, but COVID-19 has now turned it into a necessity for businesses and everyday life. While mobile has always been synonymous with cellular, mobility has now been introduced in use cases we never anticipated before.
Remote-first is now the priority at any workplace and people need to stay connected securely as they manage, collaborate and deliver projects no matter where they are. Wireless networks have proved indispensable in first-responder scenarios (to keep tabs on the health of a person inside a moving emergency van, for example), to keep civil functions and crucial necessities like delivering education and health services running and more.
The resulting uptick in volume of digital footprint etc. has made it a massive challenge for organisations to keep their information secure even as they enabled remote working practically overnight. Fortunately for us, software-defined networks (SDNs) have stood up to the challenge and shown incredible resilience in dealing with fluctuating volumes and ensured reliable connectivity when we needed it the most.
This was possible due to the nature of the endemic resilience and security in our networks that were gearing up to face the challenges of Industry 4.0. With the sheer surge in the volume of information that need to be processed from billions of IoT sensors and devices, it will only getting stronger and faster as the networks get upgraded to 5G.
How will 5G impact end-users?
5G is likely to co-exist with 4G for some time as telecom operators slowly manage the shift to the much more upfront cost-intensive 5G architecture. Once activated though, 5G can literally open up entire new vistas of value-driven use cases that simply weren’t possible before. For example, if a transport company wants real-time analysis and processing of data from their vehicle that’s on the move – they are much more likely to pay a premium for real-time, flawless connectivity than say, a home user.
For individual users, 5G will obviously mean much better quality on video calls, zero lags or stuttering on calls and streaming and flawless connectivity during large events, such as a conference or a multiplayer gaming scenario with a multitude of devices all feeding and processing large amounts of data at speeds faster than human perception.
How does 5G impact Industry 4.0?
5G is essentially the enabler behind all the technologies coming together to facilitate Industry 4.0 – big data, automation, AI/ML, XR, edge computing, cloud networking and more. 5G can enable some of the larger companies to essentially own networking slices and enable maximum computing closer to the end-users.
5G also gets security embedded into its very DNA where firewalls don’t perform through sample detection and can detect threats in data packets much faster, respond much faster and have enough resiliency built into the network that it can ‘shut off and respawn’ at another place to keep services uninterrupted even when under a large scale attack like DDoS, for instance.
What are the real 5G use cases?
As applications move out of datacenters and into the edge, 5G will guarantee the security of mission-critical applications much better than previous iterations of the network. Businesses will be able to literally design ‘the journey of the packet’ from the source to the core and finally the endpoints for the fastest maximum time and value addition to their business processes.
5G will enable business intelligence at speeds and scales that we’ve only guessed at so far, even as the data inflow only surges upwards from billions of IoT sensors and devices. This will be a key differentiator for businesses that prove to be early adopters and can help brands stand out through exceptional business intelligence and customer service. More seemingly futuristic endeavours like self-driving cars will depend on the ultra-low latency of 5G to fulfil their promise.
At New Charter Technologies, as part of our IT Consulting Services, we have dealt with the business case adoption of 5G on a client-specific basis for years and helped many clients get a headstart on the process of implementing 5G into their business environment.
We are one of the most sought after Managed IT Services Provider all across USA and have closely been involved with 5G use cases across a variety of industry verticals.