The arrival of 5G — do you have a fast data strategy?
5G isn’t just an incremental increase in speed and bandwidth, it’s the new face of the network and a key driver of the digital revolution. Until now, the technology was regarded as a buzzword, or something “just around the corner.” But with a number of public demonstrations, including at the recent 2018 Olympics, by industry leaders including Vodafone, Intel, Huawei, Verizon, and more, it’s safe to say that we have reached the era of 5G.
As the industry works towards making 5G commercially available, we are likely to see telcos take their individualised paths. Verizon is currently focusing on providing massive bandwidth, ultra-high speed, and single digit latency for emerging fixed and mobile use cases, while rival AT&T is planning on introducing a puck that will act as a mobile hotspot until 2019, when 5G smartphones debut. Regardless of how communication service providers (CSPs) intend to bring 5G to market, each will have to overhaul their related technologies and infrastructure. To operate at scale with high availability, establishing a fast data strategy to use 5G to its fullest potential should be on every telco’s to-do list.
Take full advantage of 5G with a fast data strategy
Before CSPs even worry about big data, there’s fast data, or data in motion. With 5G, providers will be tasked with supporting lower latencies (as low as a millisecond for some applications) and higher throughput than with 4G. At the same time, CSPs will have to manage the increases in data traffic from smartphones and signaling from notifications and IoT devices.
To establish responsive network management and appropriate quality of service (QoS), providers will need a real-time decisioning engine that can analyse call and usage data, monitor policy, and maximise the value of 5G applications.
By adopting a fast data strategy, CSPs will be prepared with the capabilities to interact with the rich, real-time data streams running through 5G networks. With a fast data strategy, providers will have the following strategic advantages:
- Detect declining QoS in the network and quickly remediate the situation.
- Adjust network traffic in real-time to fix performance perception issues.
- Make real-time service upgrades or contract extension offers to make the most out of customer interactions.
- Gain insights into soft errors that might not be flagged as an issue by a network engineer.
- Transmit real-time messaging to customers experiencing degraded service to alert them to proactivity in mitigating issues.
Don’t forget data slicing — act now before getting consumed by the competition
Data slicing also exacerbates the complexities of 5G, by allowing providers to split a single physical network into multiple virtual networks and applying different policies to each to lend optimal support for individual services. When considering the implications of 5G, it goes beyond managing speed and scale to being able to focus on data-driven policy management.
CSPs, while accustomed to the sustained competitive pressures that threaten their customer base each month, will face stronger forces, as each layer in the stack will need to be differentiated. But there are steps that can be taken, like adopting a fast data strategy with a real-time database, that promise to offer relief. With a fast data rules engine, CSPs will be able to support not just billions of messages in real-time to quickly deploy the required network resources for QoS, but also reduce the cost of managing the burgeoning operational data generated by 5G services.
VoltDB was designed to handle real-time decisioning as required by 5G. Download the O’Reilly eBook, Fast Data Use Cases for Telecommunications, to learn more about our real-time decisioning engine that can analyse call and usage data, monitor policy, and maximise the value of 5G applications.