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Mobile network technology has changed a lot since the first generation was introduced a few decades ago. Now, the fifth generation—5G—promises faster and more reliable data transmission than ever before.
5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile networks. It’s designed to augment existing 4G LTE cellular networks or even replace them completely. Each generation is defined by several factors, like the technology used, the amount of time between sending and receiving a signal (latency), and the speed of data transmission over a network to connected devices. 5G networks promise gigabit speeds—or data transmission speeds of up to 10 Gbps. 5G service also vastly reduces latency and can expand coverage to remote areas.
But 5G is more of a blueprint because the supporting infrastructure is limited to a small number of areas. South Korea already performed a nationwide 5G rollout, and Japan plans to complete its integration before hosting the next Olympics. The United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—and other jurisdictions like Australia, China, and Europe—are all working with regional service providers to expand 5G coverage.
There are obvious advantages to 5G use as it relates to speed, latency, and bandwidth. Consumers will enjoy faster downloads, reduced social media buffering, 4K mobile phone games, as well as enhanced virtual reality experiences.
5G also has use cases well beyond consumers. This is the wireless technology that will enable the seemingly instantaneous transmission of enormous amounts of data, creating a nearly seamless connection between the digital and physical worlds.
Beyond 5G phones, imagine all kinds of 5G devices working together to create 5G homes. This is the future of 5G wireless networks. 5G technology may even generate US$13.2 trillion of goods and services—and create as many as 22.3 million jobs—by 2035.
Every business relies on the telecommunications industry for internet access. 5G will provide advantages to many businesses, especially through network slicing (more on this below): data used for entertainment and communication will get a slice of the network, while critical data will have a separate, dedicated slice. In order to realize this update to our infrastructure the telecommunications industry is focusing on the transition to 5G. This ongoing 5G network transformation often depends on the virtualization of radio access networks (RAN) and increasingly assumes that this future is container-based and cloud native. For telecommunications companies RANs represent significant overall network expenses, perform intensive and complex processing, and now face rapidly increasing demand as more edge and 5G use cases emerge for customers.
But through the virtualization of network functions telecommunications companies and ISPs can simplify network operations and improve flexibility, availability, and efficiency—all while serving an increasing number of devices and bandwidth-hungry applications. This means greater speed and flexibility for industries that rely on ISPs; which is all of them.
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