How 5G Is Poised to Deliver Game-changing Enterprise Connectivity
Achieving ultralow latency and ultrahigh reliability will necessitate unprecedented visibility
5G is poised to change the world!
However, a lot still must happen to make this a reality in earnest. How exactly enterprise 5G transformation will take place remains to be seen, but certain signs are already emerging. As a perfect storm brews with the multilayered convergence of technology, business drivers, and market needs, 5G is clearly the foundation of connectivity for enterprises.
5G is rapidly maturing, with spectrum being allocated and investments in 5G standalone advancing opportunities to introduce promising new features and functionality. Among the business drivers powering this digital transformation is the enablement of automation, which offers the potential to increase productivity and efficiency while facilitating defect and/or error reduction. Numerous verticals will be impacted by enterprise 5G—everything from manufacturing to utilities, transportation, mining, healthcare, and much more.
Should Connectivity Be Viewed as a Commodity?
In a recent RCR Wireless News podcast, “Will 5G Change the World?” Dr. Vikram Saksena, chief technology officer for cable markets at NETSCOUT, shared his views on 5G connectivity as a commodity. “Many people view connectivity as a commodity. I prefer the term foundation because none of the benefits that enterprises want can happen without it,” he said. “For instance, without low latency in connectivity, reliability won’t be sufficient, making it difficult, if not impossible, to realize the benefits of advanced analytics or big data. The same goes for defect management, which is vitally important to manufacturing. So yes, connectivity can be seen as a commodity, but I suggest it should be viewed as a precious commodity. It is the very foundation of what we are going to see in the scheme of digital transformation for enterprises.”
The Growing Importance of Solution Integrators
Saksena believes carriers and others will have an important role to play as solution integrators, bringing together connectivity, edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to maximize the benefits of 5G, such as automation and defect reduction. Solution integrators will need to have skills in both networking and software and be able to combine these competencies to deliver true business value to enterprises.
Private Networks and 5G
“With auctioning of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the U.S. for the first time, enterprise customers now have the option of creating their own 5G network, or they can still use the services of a system integrator. The benefit of a private network approach is that it is more secure and it is also better in terms of predictable performance. This is particularly important when the business is dealing with life-critical and business-critical applications,” explained Saksena.
He pointed out we are only in the early stages of this market, and combinations of managed services from carriers and private networks via a system integrator are likely to dominate the marketplace. Enterprises will need to choose which model makes the most sense based on their requirements, coupled with available spectrum options.
Effective Monitoring Will Be Key to Service Level Agreement (SLA) Management
The adoption of enterprise 5G will be dependent on its ability to support the specific performance metrics of applications. The example Saksena offered was robots doing precision welding on the shop floor of a manufacturing facility. In this use case, very low latency is required because even a transient disruption could compromise the quality of the end product. Connectivity and network traffic between sensors and devices must maintain constant, ultralow latency to achieve ultra-reliability.
SLA management will be critical to the future success of enterprise 5G. This will require the ability to monitor packet errors to a high degree of precision to detect, proactively and predictively, the potential for malfunctions before they actually happen. Reactive responses simply won’t be sufficient in low-latency applications.
NETSCOUT’s Visibility without Borders platform provides a clear, complete end-through-end view across any cloud or service, providing the visibility needed to accelerate, transform, and innovate enterprise 5G services.