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Why should we be interested in 5G? (Even if we are not a mobile operator…)

By Dudy Cohen

5G is the most interesting and searched topic in the mobile operators’ world these days. This is not surprising, as 5G is THE next mobile technology – as were 4G-LTE and 3G, back in the day.

But what’s unique about 5G is that its technologies, service offerings, and trends reach far beyond the mobile world.

In fact, Intel UK, together with futurist Ian Pearson, published a new report stating that 5G could enable the long awaited move towards a four-day workweek.

This sounds a bit out of context, but if you look deeper into this matter, you soon understand that 5G will practically enable life-changing services and technologies that will dramatically increase labor productivity, anywhere. 5G will allow us to accomplish more while spending significantly less time in our office, factory or shop.

Some examples include: data centers with artificial intelligence (AI) implementations that will simplify the way we process information; massive Internet of things (IoT) deployments that will make data collection a no-brainer; autonomous vehicles that will allow us to reduce commuting time and use this time for work (or pleasure) instead of driving; and highly connected virtual offices that might save us the need to commute altogether.

All these examples require a new communications infrastructure that is far more robust, capacity-intense and low-latency than current 4.XG networks. 5G will be an enabler of these examples, as it is designed to allow not only higher capacity (with enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services), but also to support mission-critical services (using ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC)) and massive IoT deployments (based on massive machine-type communications (mMTC)).

So 5G is an interesting topic for basically anyone when it comes to our future day-to-day lives.

But it is also interesting in terms of future network development for service providers, and not necessarily only to current mobile operators.

On top of being the next-generation mobile technology, 5G also creates a huge opportunity for service providers to extend their line of business and leverage a common technology for different service and network scenarios.

Take a CLEC, a MSO or an ISP, for instance. 5G technology allows each to create a new type of last-mile access to their enterprise and residential customers, creating a cost-effective, ultra-high-capacity alternative to copper, HFC and even fiber-based methods.

5G also allows such operators to provide new services that are based on massive IoT deployment to municipalities and enterprises, without having to provide any “classic” mobile services. See, as an example, Dish’s plan to deploy an IoT-centric 5G network.

The effect on network planning reaches even further than service providers. Private network owners, as well as public-sector infrastructure managers, need to keep a close eye on 5G development as it not only affects their network, but also impacts their business. Moving to an off-premise infrastructure architecture like XaaS – combined with extending the methods of remote working, virtual office, and data collection and analysis – relies heavily on telecom infrastructure, and specifically on 5G.

The bottom line is that all telecom experts, network managers, CTOs and even business managers should be acquainted with 5G technologies, challenges and opportunities in the access, backhaul and core parts of their networks. They also should plan ahead in order to leverage the huge potential of this game-changing technology.

So next time you see an article about 5G, read on. You will probably find it useful.

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