5G: Why it is already relevant for you
5G is not the extension of "more speed, more bandwidth". Rather, it will be the first enterprise-suitable network supporting a variety of applications. Read here why 5G helps companies realize enormous potential for more efficiency and new business models.
In the past, the network evolution of
- language (2G)
- to data (3G)
- to video (4G)
driven by consumer demands. In contrast, 5G is not the extension of "more speed, more bandwidth". Rather, it will be the first enterprise-suitable network supporting a variety of applications. 5G - The next stage of communication development
In essence, 5G actually represents the next stage of communication development. Not only will its technical capabilities be significantly enhanced - for the benefit of companies and consumers - but there will also be capabilities available that have been designed to meet the requirements of companies in an individualized form. 5G becomes the link for connectivity and communication. 5G offers companies the opportunity to increase their efficiency and develop new offers and business models.
The leap in performance - 1,000x more apacity, 100x more connection density, 10x more speed, 10x more latency and 3x more mobility - will provide capabilities to optimize and further develop a variety of applications. At the same time, however, it also lays the foundation for new unforeseeable applications.
Main requirements for the 5G network
From a technical point of view, these applications can be grouped based on their main requirements –
- high throughput,
- connection or device density,
- or reliability
- and latency.
This categorization is of course a simplification, as for example throughput-driven applications may also require low latency. An example of this is the dizziness caused by excessive latency in virtual reality applications.
While throughput is primarily relevant for consumer applications, connection density, reliability and latency combined with customizability are essential capabilities of business applications.
5G as a success factor for IoT
The importance of Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) and Industry 4.0 is explained by the special structure of Germany's industrial landscape. The first wave of applications will focus on improving operational efficiency in production operations, asset management and maintenance and repair.
Examples of the benefits of 5G: For example, the optimization of production processes in operation requires closed real-time communication between machines, which requires appropriate latency and reliability. Asset tracking as a means of optimizing logistics, stock levels and theft protection requires high connection densities in order to cope with the high density of networked goods. The use of augmented and virtual reality for maintenance and repair is likely to become common, making latency and throughput important network requirements.
Another benefit of 5G: Of equal importance to improving efficiency is the introduction of new offerings based on consumption-based models, software-based services and the monetization of data. Even if the details of the underlying business models have not yet been fully developed, it is already obvious that data and information exchange via networks will form the basis.
5G technology means more than connectivity
Typical challenges for use cases are:
- Drones, correctly termed unmanned aerial systems, are spreading more and more. Autonomous drones will open up further areas already in use in the areas of inspection, monitoring and delivery. In terms of connectivity, reliability and availability are required for safe and controlled operation.
- The monitoring application may also require high bandwidths. Last but not least, the airspace used by drones, typically below 200 meters altitude, must be covered by radio.
- Other application-specific requirements include command transmission with minimal delay (latency), real-time data transmission, processing and distribution (edge computing), communication with nearby objects such as other drones and positioning with more than GPS accuracy.
- As recent incidents have shown, the safe operation of drones is of crucial importance. In addition to a regulatory framework, end-to-end control requires the combination of air surveillance systems with sophisticated identity management and end-to-end control. A rarely mentioned ability of 5G is the ability to enable high-precision positioning. Many applications such as car navigation work satisfactorily with the accuracy of 5 to 15 meters provided by GPS under good radio conditions. But agriculture, drones or the tracking of networked goods, to name but a few, require an accuracy of less than one meter or even centimeters, as will be possible with 5G in the future.
As the previous examples have shown, 5G was designed with companies' cases in mind. It combines connectivity - speed, latency, mobility, reliability, quality of service - with capabilities such as security, identity management and distributed computing for real-time processing. In other words, 5G will combine connectivity, computing power and business-related capabilities to enable customization.
Another 5G advantage: Network Slicing enables the "as needed" network
Although the requirements of different applications can be similar in nature, the concrete characteristics are often different. Because previous generations of networks were designed on the "one network for all" principle, in many cases it was difficult or even impossible for companies to use mobile networks for connectivity and communication purposes. 5G will address this by introducing the technical concept of network slicing. In simple terms Network Slicing enables deployment "as needed".
Figure 2 shows the different layers of the 5G architecture for separating network infrastructure, support functions and business applications using “XaaS”- architectures.
What does a 5G architecture have to look like?
5G Network Slices are implemented on the same infrastructure.
- At the lowest level, the converged physical infrastructure is virtualized using Network Function Virtualization and made available as "Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)".
- The level of support functions (Business Enablement Layer) uses and combines these virtualized functions in connection with further capabilities for, among other things, security, identity management and distributed computing for use by business applications.
- Provided as a "Platform as a Service (PaaS)", the Business Enablement Layer is a library of modular network and value-added functions. Business applications access via Application Programmable Interfaces (API) - the "network" becomes accessible with the means of IT.
The key business benefit of virtualized networking is the ability to configure it according to specific business requirements - the network is cut into virtual slices. Each Network Slice addresses the specific requirements of a family of applications. Potential 5G network slices could, among others, be designed for autonomous vehicles and industrial IoT.
Your way to 5G
Why should you be interested in a non-standardized technology that will probably not be available before 2020?
In short: Because society is becoming more and more mobile, networked and digitized and companies need to become continuously more efficient. A number of different trends are driving these developments:
- These include the increasing number of networked devices and sensors due to continuously decreasing size and costs (consumers and industrial IoT),
- the penetration of more and more industries such as health care (demographic change) and agriculture (yield increase)
- and new mobility concepts (autonomous vehicles).
- Regardless of the application and industry - all require controlled and secure connectivity and communication in conjunction with distributed processing integrated in the network.
While the previous argument is rather reactive in the sense of transformation, companies should also think about growth from new and additional business. A significant trend is already emerging here:
- the change from products to services and from a "push" (forecast - production - sales) to a "pull" ("as required") economy. Here too, 5G skills will play an indispensable role
In the past, networks were often regarded as "bit pipes". 5G is groundbreaking because it is designed for businesses.
His abilities have a clear focus on delivering added value to companies. The importance of 5G as an engine of digitization is increasingly recognized by companies, as the growing number of operator-industry partnerships and alliances shows.