By now, almost everyone has heard that 5G is the next generation of mobile connectivity technology, bringing ultra-high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and ultra-reliability. New 5G initiatives look to address the digital divide by bringing mobile communications and fixed wireless communications to underserved populations. Although the focus of mobile communications from 2G through 5G has been about connecting devices and eliminating distance, 5G is about more than just connectivity. 5G is about enhancing the experience for applications and services with ultrahigh bandwidth and ultra-low latency.

5G in Action Across Industries

5G is enabling a myriad of new technologies and enhancing existing technologies such as augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR). Technicians out in the field are now being supported by AR/VR applications. The German airline Lufthansa utilized AR/VR during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide safer means for its personnel to perform aircraft maintenance and is using it to train staff on the proper operation of its planes.

Both Lufthansa and Air France are now using VR to offer immersive entertainment to passengers with the addition of a VR head-mounted display along with headphones, providing passengers the chance to escape during their flight with noise-canceling gear while relaxing and enjoying the time, even when in a completely packed flight. Likewise, they are using these technologies to help sell upgraded seats to customers by giving them the ability to visualize where they could be seated in the aircraft.

An enhanced stadium experience can be offered via 5G as well. Teams can now offer an improved audience experience within and around the arena/stadium: watch replays, view analytics on the play/players, and experience the field virtually. Who scored that touchdown? Was that a penalty? I want to see that hit again!

Moving to autonomous vehicles will also dramatically change the driving experience. Have a long drive? Need to get some work done or prepare for a meeting? Too much to drink? Turn on autonomous driving mode or hire an autonomous vehicle!

The mining experience is changing as well with the introduction of 5G. Mining usually takes place in remote and sometimes dangerous areas that are not often served by telecom infrastructure. Placing local private 5G networks provides advanced connectivity to support autonomous vehicles and robotics, reducing the human risk in what can be a dangerous task.

Even the medical industry is looking at new experiences such as remote diagnostics and surgery to bring advanced medical care to rural and underserved populations. And the pandemic has increased the urgency for remote medical care. We don’t want a COVID-infected patient coming into the doctor’s office or an immune-compromised patient being exposed unnecessarily. Telemedicine is a potential solution.

The experience for manufacturing and the factory floor is changing, with new robotics capabilities supported by the ultra-low latency offered by 5G. Mundane, repetitive, and sometimes dangerous tasks can now be replaced with robotics.

Ensuring 5G Experiences

Many of these new “experiences,” including services and applications, will demand ultra-low latency, ultra-high bandwidth, and ultra-reliability. 5G networks offer all these performance attributes, but how do you assure that those capabilities are actually being delivered?

Indeed, the performance of the network has never been more critical to the experience of these new 5G-enabled services. Robotics on the factory floor, remote surgery, and autonomous vehicles must have extremely reliable 5G: without it, or with an uneven connection, humans and property will be at risk.

The key to assuring all these new experiences is simply having visibility. It means having continuous visibility for mobile edge computing (MEC), for network slices, for the 5G New Radios (NR) and standalone core, and more for the 3G/4G networks. You can manage only what you can see.

Learn more about 5G readiness.

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