Sierra Wireless, leading provider of 4G LTE gateway and routing solutions, has recently published a whitepaper on 5G and how we can prepare for its arrival. This article takes a look at the whitepaper and delves into what 5G means for business.
The topic of 5G is as hot as it comes in cellular networking with many technology companies and mobile operators clamouring to develop their 5G solutions. While 5G is not set to be commercially launched until 2020, testing and trials are already underway. According to the Sierra Wireless whitepaper, “Preparing for the 5G Future”, industry analyst ABI Research predicts that mobile broadband operators will generate $247 billion in 5G revenues in 2025.
The whitepaper covers three main points which surround 5G:
- LTE will continue to play a major role in 5G systems in both the short and long term, so you don’t have to worry about LTE investments getting depreciated.
- We can expect to see major disruption in some industries, especially fixed broadband connectivity, over the next few years.
- How disruptive will 5G be though? How quickly will organisations be able to start taking advantage of 5G capabilities, taking into consideration the type of applications it will service?
Sierra Wireless state that the industry bodies involved in developing the 5G standards will need to deploy both 5G NR and 5G LTE to meet the requirements of the 5G standards, but what do these mean?
5G New Radio (NR) is a new wireless air interface which will play a key role in enabling massive improvements in capacity, density, spectrum, and network efficiency. It will enable commercial cellular products to support mmWave for the first time, opening up massive amounts of new spectrum and offering unprecedented capacity. Operators will use 5G NR to meet the super-high speed, broad channel and high spectrum (mmWave) requirements defined for 5G.
With trials already underway, it is thought that 5G NR will be used in the near-term primarily for fixed wireless broadband and pay-TV services, as an alternative to fibre connectivity. In the longer term, 5G NR will expand to support similar use cases as 5G LTE will support – plus more.
5G LTE is the latest release of LTE Advanced Pro, Release 15. 5G LTE will allow the system to meet 5G’s Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) requirements, automotive requirements, and consistent user experience requirements. The Sierra Wireless whitepaper states that not only will 5G LTE support higher speeds than LTE available today can, but it will also provide new features such as ultra-high reliability and ultra-low latency. It is also guaranteed that 4G LTE devices will continue to work on 5G LTE systems – essential to businesses already investing in cellular technology, and providing peace of mind that their network is future proofed.
What 5G Means for Business
While many European businesses already reap the benefits of 4G LTE connectivity, it can only be a good thing to see coverage improved further and expanded into more rural areas. In addition to pushing coverage further, 5G is expected to deliver speeds significantly faster than 4G which will deliver improved business communications on the whole; enabling even higher productivity and more flexible working. Not only this, its increased level of network flexibility will become essential to enabling future technologies such as virtual reality.
“We’re seeing businesses use 4G for a broad range of applications,” said Kelly Bell, Marketing Manager at Westbase Technology, “Companies are already leveraging cellular to implement new business models, improve their operational efficiencies and deliver improved customer service; with 4G LTE coverage set to continuously improve, and plans for 5G well underway, cellular connectivity will only continue to better enable organisations.”