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CIOs must start planning for 5G today, says 451 Research

A report from analysts at 451 Research urges businesses to start preparing their technology for 5G mobile networks ahead of deployment

The time to start thinking seriously about how 5G mobile networks will affect demand for IT is fast approaching, warned mobile telecoms analyst Ken Rehbehn of 451 Research.

Even though commercial deployments of 5G services are still at least four years off – and even then will probably only occur at first in very advanced markets such as South Korea – Rehbehn said 5G will start to affect the industry well in advance of 2020.

“Whether it is real-time analytics, datacentre design, location-based web services, or social networks and digital currencies, 5G will affect demand patterns as early as 2018,” he said.

In the report The Coming Revolution: 5G and its Impact on IT, Rehbehn said 5G would have a catalytic effect on a wide range of IT and services, affecting all of the industry beyond mobile technologies and business models.

The fifth generation of mobile networks are likely to offer data volumes of over 1,000 times current levels; substantial reductions in latency to support real-time applications; 10 to 100 times higher speeds, eventually going as high as 10Gbps; support for many more devices, including internet of things (IoT) sensors; greater energy efficiency; and high availability and coverage.

Any enterprise touching the mobile internet, the IoT, cloud services, consumer electronics or automation will need to rethink much of their IT, he said.

Read more about 5G

  • Nokia demonstrates programmable software-defined 5G networking architecture to dynamically manage network resources.
  • Surrey University cuts the ribbon on its 5G Innovation Centre and shows off some early technical advances with video streaming and IoT technology.
  • Huawei and NTT Docomo have successfully completed the world’s first large-scale field trial of 5G radio access technologies.

Uncertainty over 5G networks

The report said 5G will be more than just another generation of networks, because it will force a wave of innovation to exploit the possibilities of virtually instantaneously available computing.

Despite this oncoming innovation around mobile technology, analytics, datacentres, and apps and services such as autonomous vehicles and the IoT, implementation is likely to be patchy at first, with deployment depending on demand and mobile network operators (MNOs) seeking to leapfrog their competitors.

Rehbehn predicted uncertainty at first, because a lot of 5G technologies are not yet proven at scale – and nor is it yet clear that capabilities such as sub-millisecond responses will justify the cost of investment.

Even so, businesses will need to try to understand what is coming with 5G, considering areas such as billing, security, spectrum and radio allocation, licensing and energy efficiency, said the report.

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