While many service providers are still implementing 4G networks, 5G is already on the horizon.
The industry is still defining 5G from a service perspective and on the requirements that will accompany that service definition. There are multiple organizations working on 5G globally, including 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) , 5G Public Private Partnership (5GPPP), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Ltd. , among others.
However, an important part of getting to a 5G world is the evolution to New IP software-defined networks built on virtualized functions, according to Kevin Shatzkamer, CTO of Mobile Networking at Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), who discussed the topic on a recent New IP webinar: The Road to 5G Services.
"When we think about 4G, it was really designed as a technology to improve capacity, user data rates, leverage spectrum more efficiently and also expand the amount of spectrum and reduce latency," said Shatzkamer. "When we look at 5G, we expect that we'll see something very different. We'll see an evolution, but more than just an evolution of mobile broadband -- we'll see the enabling foundation, the enabling platform and the enabling technologies that will drive the future digital world."
Shatzkamer says that "digital world" includes the use of mobile data services from smartphones and tablets, mobile services for transactional elements, mobile and cellular networks for sensors and modules and devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). "We'll start to see the evolution of new business models related to devices that connect to the cellular network," he added.
Those new business models include IoT; enterprise private wireless networks; cloud ops, dev/ops, network ops; business intelligence and data analytics; consumerization of IT; and alternative mobile virtual network operator models, he said.
Similarly, a recent study by Heavy Reading in conjunction with the TIA showed that the two primary drivers for 5G will be better broadband performance (76%) and the Internet of Things (74%).
The Drivers for 5G
Source: 2015 5G Operator Survey; Heavy Reading in partnership with the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).
From a historical perspective, cellular is the probably one of the only technologies where we see an entire change or modification to the network architecture about every ten years, said Shatzkamer. "Over the next five years, as we build and standardize what 5G will look like, the New IP will play a predominant role in building out a software-defined and virtualized network infrastructure," he said.
Whereas previous generations of technology were driven by interface evolution, "5G will be driven from an end-to-end ecosystem perspective where the goals are driving new business models and a sustainable subscriber experience regardless of where a user is connected into the network."
To find out more about what's on the 5G horizon and why, catch the archive of the New IP's webinar with Brocade -- available 24/7 right here: The Road to 5G Services.
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Editor, The New IP