New Digital Environments: The Structure of 5G


The 5G network being constructed moves away from the hierarchical structure that 4G typically uses. 5G has the potential to create a more agile, dynamic and decentralised network to deliver a new digital environment all businesses can benefit from.

Networking on the edge

One of the defining factors of the 5G infrastructure is its ability to connect and support billions of devices. The burgeoning IoT space will be a massive user of 5G as this landscape of devices all require a reliable and secure data communications network. From domestic services to Industry 4.0, the 5G infrastructure will support a diverse range of needs.

For users of the 5G network, the transition from 4G to virtual network standards should deliver the performance gains needed to realise the full potential of IoT, AI, Machine Learning, automation and autonomous vehicles all of which need fast, reliable and secure network access that 5G can provide.

There are, though, significant challenges as the ITU points out: “Deploying fibre backhaul networks for small cells – to support high data rates and low latency – will be one of the largest challenges faced by operators due to the poor availability of fibre networks in many cities. The UK, for example, has one of the lowest fibre penetration rates in Europe at 2% penetration. This compares to a European average of around 9%. To incentivise investment in fibre networks, the UK Government has introduced a five-year relief from business rates on new fibre networks infrastructure.”

In addition, businesses looking at the medium to long-term development of their enterprises need to think carefully about the technologies they are deploying, as Phil Twist, VP Marketing and Comms at Nokia told Silicon: “There is a difference between being the ‘first to 5G’ and ‘best at 5G’, and it’s important for businesses to ensure that the decisions they make now are made with a long-term view. This means taking the time to invest in updating their infrastructure at each key stage of the 5G journey, and ensuring they are putting the necessary equipment in place now to prepare them for the later stages of investment. Nokia’s recent RootMetrics LTE tests in the USA is a good example.”

NEXT: Pervasive networks

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