5G mobile wireless technology has finally arrived in Australia. There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a game changer for our ultra-high–speed, hyper-connected world. It will provide the fastest mobile internet speeds we’ve ever seen to meet today’s explosive bandwidth and network connectivity demands.
5G is poised to revolutionise several industries by bringing significantly faster connections, meaning shorter delays and increased connectivity for users. It will aid the expansion of the internet of things (IoT), creating a virtual network of ultra-high-speed connections across multiple devices.
Recent research from the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) and Deloitte Access Economics, indicates that 5G mobile telecommunications will deliver productivity benefits worth $65 billion to the Australian economy by 2023, which is equivalent to 3.1 percent GDP.
With many more 5G services expected to be launched in Australia in the next two years, it will take many more years, however, for complete deployments to happen.
It begs the question, will telcos have the ability to provide business-class 5G services to meet anticipated enterprise demand? Also, will enterprises see 5G as a viable alternative to more expensive and lower bandwidth leased line or broadband wide area network (WAN) services?
In the near term, telcos must enable use cases such as IoT communications, enhanced mobile broadband, fixed wireless access and high-performance edge analytics, without having the benefit of a complete 5G network.
Once more services are launched, enterprises should evaluate 5G as a potential WAN transport option for connecting branch and remote office users to business applications. The high-speed and high-bandwidth connectivity will surely make it an attractive alternative to existing WAN transport options.
One technology that will help telcos deliver a higher quality of network experience tailored to the customer’ needs, while managing the transition to a complete 5G infrastructure for delivery, is SD-WAN.
SD-WAN is the glue
The emergence of 5G will heighten end users’ expectations when it comes to always-on connectivity and low-latency. It will also intensify the need for organisations to transform the way they build and manage their networks.
Strong demands on real-time network monitoring across all transports (including 5G) and traffic management optimisation, will drive the need for the automation of network management.
An SD-WAN platform that enables automation will help telcos connect to and integrate across all the different compute edges required to optimise the traffic and management of 5G. This will enable a seamless transition towards a full 5G infrastructure by managing any transport available across the edge, leveraging 5G transport for those critical applications that require zero latency and higher speeds.
To guarantee the highest quality experience for users, telcos need the granular, intelligent application-driven routing some SD-WAN solutions provide. High-bandwidth traffic, like video streaming to a 5G mobile device, is automatically prioritised and failovers managed, while lower bandwidth traffic is routed to another transport available, such as LTE or broadband internet.
Centralised management facilitates easier operation, management and maintenance of edges and 5G mobiles by rerouting traffic during mobile provisioning or upgrades. Additionally, it enables faster policy-based provisioning of WAN services to support any device connectivity … a must for IoT.
Machine learning is another important factor to consider. It automatically adapts to varying network conditions in real–time and provides optimal routing to the edges and the 5G small cells.
Security integration with business intent networking must also be factored in. This enables centralised enforcement of granular, application-driven security policies by automatically steering traffic to the right security services without compromising performance or cost.
Finally, virtual WAN overlays must be considered to allow for a more efficient and flexible allocation of network resources to provide the QoS that applications demand. Similarly, 5G networks rely on network slicing, where each slice receives a unique set of optimised resources and network topology.
By using both technologies together, telcos can steer mission-critical traffic to the 5G network, where it can be isolated to a particular slice depending on the specific application requirements.
Delivering highest quality experience
The initial success of 5G deployment will demand an automated, self-driving wide area network foundation with an intelligent underlay. This delivers the highest quality of experience for users, like the one offered by SD-WAN technology.
As a bonus, telcos that opt for SD-WAN will accelerate new revenues streams from 5G-enabled managed services rather than just commoditising 5G as a mere transport connection.
Dean Vaughan is vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and Japan. He is responsible for accelerating the company’s business expansion and customer acquisition through enterprise and service provider channels across the region.