As the industry gears up for “5G”, the expectations continue to be high that the next generation of wireless technology will be able to solve any problem that the industry faces: much more capacity, higher speeds, much less latency, the ability to handle billions more internet of things connections and do it all intelligently and efficiently and at a low enough cost that 5G will be profitable.
That’s a lot to expect of any generational jump. Still industry optimism continues mostly unabated — although LTE is expected to underpin 5G for years to come. Tom Anderson, senior technology consultant for standards group ATIS, pointed out that the new standard is not radically different than LTE, but more like “LTE on steroids.”
Brian Daly, director of core and government/regulatory standards at AT&T, said that the speeds that advanced LTE networks will be able to achieve will help enable the migration to 5G.
“The path to 5G is not only going to be a mobile path, it’s going to be a fixed path as well — and the deployment of 4G LTE Advanced networks is going to lay the essential groundwork that we’re going to need to build that road to 5G,” Daly said. “And that’s going to provide us with the ultra-fast speeds that are going to first allow these applications to build on the LTE network and eventually migrate to the 5G network.”
Watch an excerpt from Daly’s talk below:
Bob Everson, mobility domain leader for Cisco’s Global Service Provider segment, told the audience that in a report published earlier this year, the GSM Association found that 51% of operators saw the lack of a clear business case as their most significant concern about 5G.
In that report, the GSMA wrote: “The investment required for 5G networks, particularly in terms of dense small cell deployments and the requisite backhaul, plus the provision of reliable connectivity globally, is huge. The challenge for the industry is to identify new services, new market segments (especially enterprise) and the right business models (including a new IP interconnect model) to unlock the incremental 5G opportunity while optimising the cost of 5G network investment.”
Everson said that fortunately, many of the services that are being floated as 5G use cases don’t require full 5G, and Cisco is already working with enterprises to enable them. Watch an excerpt from his talk below: