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5G and the Big Picture PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 April 2019 09:52

In the world of 5G technology domains AI is business-critical. You simply can’t do the things you need to do without machine intelligence. If you’re working in 5G, you should know that planning and operating 5G networks definitely falls into that latter category. There is just too much complexity. Too many use cases and applications, each with its own unique requirements. When consumers think about 5G, their questions typically boil down to, “When can I get it?” and “Why can’t I have it sooner?” For the people actually building 5G networks, the list is much longer and more involved: How will I validate quality in a more dynamic environment? What new testing and diagnostic capabilities will 5G demand that I didn’t have to worry about before? What should I measure to guide network expansions?

Telecom Review recently visited with Adrian Jakobsson, Infovista’s SVP of Strategy in order to give our readers additional insight into 5G planning.

A new survey from Infovista finds that only 25 percent of mobile network operators say they are extremely prepared for 5G, citing as their top concerns making sure their 5G network works correctly, the rollout stays within budgets, not being late to market and that the network meets subscriber needs. The survey also found that even fewer vendors who work with Mobile World Operators (MNOs) (just one in six) feel MNOs are extremely prepared for 5G.

The fact is, 5G networks are radically different than anything that’s come before, and most testing and planning tools just aren’t equipped to handle them. It’s not that you don’t need the same capabilities—drive testing, device-based measurements, geodata, call traces. It’s that most tools out there focus on just one of those areas. That might have been fine for 3G or 4G networks, but it’s not going to cut it in a 5G world.

5G networks are just too dynamic. They have too many interdependencies. Too many distinct use cases, each with unique traffic patterns and requirements that can change across customers and verticals. If you don’t have a holistic view—if you can’t efficiently correlate data across  of planning, testing, and optimization—you won’t capture an accurate picture of what’s happening. And you can expect more trial and error, more manual effort, higher costs, and slower rollouts.

Some of the findings of the survey include:

5G Brings Challenges for MNOs

5G has great potential, but it also brings challenges. The biggest challenges MNOs say they are facing as they work to roll out their 5G network include:

  • Planning & optimizing the radio access network
  • Setting-up efficient operations
  • Planning & optimizing microwave and backhaul networks
  • Network testing, troubleshooting and optimizing 5G network once it is rolled out
  • Densifying the network

5G is Important to the Enterprise

5G capabilities look to make the end users’ lives easier, enhance business communications and expand IoT’s potential and two thirds of enterprises surveyed report 5G is somewhat/extremely important to their future. The top applications reported for 5G include:

  • Collecting data from IoT devices
  • Sensors and IoT
  • Smart homes
  • Industrial IoT

Enterprises also report the most important markets for 5G include:

  • Media, entertainment or gaming
  • Automotive
  • Public safety
  • Retail

Enterprises Expect Their MNOs to Keep-up

Once 5G arrives, three in four enterprises responded that it’s important for their MNO to fully support the 5G standard. MNO respondents understand the importance of delivering 5G services with 4 of 5 MNOs reporting that 5G is somewhat to extremely important to their future. In addition, MNO’s report the top reasons for pursuing 5G include:

  • Addressing “over-the-top” issues
  • Increasing market share
  • Adding new billable services

Keys for Success

For 5G to thrive, it is important for MNOs to take the following steps:

  • Make the right decisions for 5G investment including adopting data-driven processes
  • Focus on increasing your efficiency across the board to increase network agility
  • Guarantee a powerful customer experience by leveraging network data and predictive methodologies
  • Exploit the high potential of 5G to generate new revenues (new verticals)