Pathway to 5G


5G, the next generation of mobile networks, is quickly fulfilling its promise as the future of communications. Heralded by some as being “as transformative as electricity,” there is tremendous hype that is just now beginning to turn into reality. With this rapid introduction of this technology and the ensuing interest, there’s no shortage of coverage in the news and on the web. The purpose of this page is to provide organizations some introductory information about 5G, ideas about what they can do to get on a pathway to 5G, and a repository of curated content that is highly relevant to CIOs and other IT professionals desiring to understand how 5G fits into their network architecture roadmaps.

Introduction to 5G

5G is the fast-approaching fifth-generation wireless broadband technology. It will be 10 to 100 times faster than the current LTE network and will allow for the connection density to support billions of devices. Gartner predicts that we should expect to see 20 billion Internet-connected things by 2020.

5G will enable diverse use cases from enhanced mobile broadband, to mission-critical control, to massive IoT applications that aren’t possible with 4G systems alone. It is expected to be scalable and energy efficient enough to power the steady growth of new connections and advanced technologies.

Initial availability of 5G is starting with fixed, in-home consumer service, and then will grow to enterprise service and eventually mobile service. Even as 5G becomes available, however, it will rely heavily on concurrent connections to 4G LTE to ensure continuous coverage when outside 5G areas or when a 5G signal can’t be received. 5G won’t replace LTE, it will continue to evolve along with LTE — and the two will work in a complementary fashion to handle different types of traffic most efficiently.

5G Timeline

5G developments are moving quickly with initial deployments already in progress.  But even as it achieves widespread availability, 5G networks will be working alongside existing 3G and 4G technology. The timeline below portrays the expected development of 5G over the next few years.

Customers don’t have to wait for 5G in order to get many of the benefits it offers. Advanced LTE services such as Gigabit LTE are available now, so customers can continue to use services like 4G and LTE and plug in 5G where it is applicable. This is all necessary as 5G continues to roll out.

Cradlepoint 5G timeline diagram

 

5 Things You Can Do Today to Prepare for 5G

5G is starting with fixed wireless access trials in densely populated areas such as Texas, California, and New York. It will rely heavily on concurrent connections to 4G LTE to ensure continuous coverage when outside 5G areas. 5G won’t replace LTE, it will continue to evolve along with LTE — and the two will work in a complementary fashion to handle different types of traffic most efficiently. Today, LTE is the fastest way to connect to the network. Here’s what enterprises can do to prepare for 5G.

1. Understand the technology – at a high level.

It’s important to know the basics of what 5G will provide, how it works, and when and where it will be available — but don’t get mired in the details. Investing just an hour in a webinar will give you a good overview. Visit cradlepoint.com/webinar to gather valuable information on 5G and the transformation of the WAN.

 

2. Take a look at your refresh cycle and your current network infrastructure.

Even as 5G becomes widely available, it will co-exist with 4G and Gigabit LTE. As you refresh your networking infrastructure, consider how you can take advantage of wireless today to begin reducing your dependency on wired connections. And make sure that today’s investments put you on a pathway to 5G so you won’t have to refresh a second time to take advantage of 5G.

 

3. Compare carrier rollout plans with your locations.

5G won’t be available in every location for a period of time. As you consider taking advantage of 5G, compare your business locations to your carrier’s announcement rollout plans. Determine which locations are going to have access to 5G first, and consider using those locations to trial new products and services that take advantage of the speed and bandwidth of 5G.

 

4. Talk to your peers in other departments.

These new use cases can benefit teams in Operations, HR, Marketing, Sales, etc. Help those department heads understand the possibilities where 5G can help increase revenues, reduce costs, and/or create a competitive advantage.

 

5. Get advice from the experts.

Once you have a sense for how 5G might benefit your company, invest a half day with your key leadership and our 5G experts. For qualified clients, Cradlepoint will conduct an interactive workshop to better understand how 5G can apply specifically to your organization, dialog and test your use case ideas, as well as advise the best path forward on integrating 5G into your technology roadmap.

 

The Pathway to 5G Workshop

The Pathway to 5G Workshop

The Pathway to 5G Workshop

Cradlepoint is offering a personalized half-day, in-person consulting workshop that is designed to help CIOs and senior IT leaders take advantage of emerging Gigabit-Class LTE and 5G services within their next-generation WAN strategies. This workshop will educate leaders on the underlying wireless spectrum and technologies that provide the foundation for these new services, as well as the published rolled-out plans for major carriers—including upcoming 5G market launches.

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Additional Resources