What does a 5G network look like?
The huge leap forward in speed and performance cannot be achieved with a simple radio access software upgrade. It requires a new network architecture, and there are four important technology changes:
5G operates in higher frequencies and needs a radio upgrade (5G New Radio Non Standalone (5GNR NSA), but stopping there is like putting racing tires on a family estate car.
The core of the network needs upgrading to ensure flexibility and agility to create network slices and the new low latency use cases. This works with a the next version of the 3GPP standard called 5G New Radio Standalone (5G NR SA).
The transport (back- and fronthaul) needs upgrading so that bottlenecks don’t occur as traffic leaves the base station.
Small cells or home Wifi need to be in place to ensure inbuilding and indoor coverage. It also requires new spectrum bands and antennas.
5G also requires a cloud architecture – Edge Cloud, Cloud RAN and converged cloud core functionality deliver greater agility in all domains and latency and reliability of the network as well as fast service definition and creation and performance monitoring, Automation and AI for business processes improvement and changes to policy management for network and service performance and optimisation. Widely deployed sensors enable simultaneous management of multiple devices and services on an individual basis.
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