What to expect in 2019: Clue – If it’s not about 5G it’s barely being mentioned
Spoiler Alert: If you’re hoping to get through the Festive Period without any mention of 5G, look away now. And, says Jeremy Cowan, if you thought 2018 was full of 5G hype you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. We haven’t even got to #MWC19 in Barcelona yet!
A number of major players in the industry committed huge sums of money in 2018 for 5G spectrum in order to ‘stay ahead of the game’. But already the next generation of mobile communications has had its issues. So, how will 5G progress in 2019?
Jennifer Kyriakakis, founder, MATRIXX Software argues that 5G is one of the issues that will impact operators’ business and the consumer mobile service experience over the coming year. “The 5G hype bubble will inevitably burst, revealing its true value. The roll-out of next-gen capabilities will be lengthier than consumers expect, device manufacturers will be slow to adopt the standards, and a whole host of other challenges to 5G will surely arise.
“This bursting of the hype bubble will provide the impetus necessary for operators to pivot away from today’s heavy focus on speed, coverage and price, and refocus on monetisation – making them better prepared when 5G is a reality,” Kyriakakis concludes.
Professor William Webb, CEO of Weightless SIG, and an IEEE senior member, is also calling time on 5G hype. “2019 will see lots of 5G trials and claims of ‘5G firsts’ but there will be no significant handset availability and very few, if any, mobile subscribers. There might be some fixed wireless subscribers in the U.S., but that initiative will move less quickly than hoped.”
More positively, he tells VanillaPlus, “We will see Google’s Fi offering (which links Wi-Fi and cellular) expanded to multiple handsets and starting to become available in various forms from various companies (not necessarily Google) in selected countries.”
Webb maintains that the year ahead will also see a few more mobile operators merge, following trends in the U.S. and we will see the first allowed merger in Europe for many years.
4G will be 5G’s collateral damage
Mobile data traffic management solutions provider, Openwave Mobility believes that 4G RAN congestion will be 5G’s collateral damage in 2019.
Indranil Chatterjee, SVP of Products, Sales & Marketing comments: “In 2019, 5G will be in the hype cycle, but many operators would be busy internally trying to architect 5G networks. 4G networks and in particular 4G radio networks will be bursting at the seams as user appetite for data will heighten next year.
“This will lead to inferior QoE (quality of experience), especially when it comes to video streaming as users gauge network quality based on their video experience,” Chatterjee adds. “Operators who are savvy about tackling RAN (radio access network) congestion and QoE with efficient, cost-effective solutions while preserving CapEx for 5G deployments will come out on top.”
In 2019, data management in 5G could be a rude awakening to many, according to Aman Brar, Openwave Mobility’s VP of Global Solutions & Global Alliances. “Everyone’s talking about what 5G and IoT (the Internet of Things) can do for operators, but relatively few operators have addressed the fundamental changes that 5G means for data management.
“5G’s service-based architecture means that operators require a common data layer that can store diverse data like fast-changing session data to long-lasting subscription data. In 5G, operators are faced with ‘stateless’ Network Functions – i.e. services that do not store data from one session to the next but instead rely on common external data management,” Brar adds.
Operators will ‘scale or fail’ to meet 5G demand
Heather Broughton, senior director pf Service Provider Marketing at NETSCOUT, forecasts that 5G will be faster, smarter and more efficient than 4G, but in order to meet demand and to support new architectures, networks will have to scale.
“While most of the scale in the core network will be cloud and software-based, there will still be a need for hardware and equipment at the network edge, and in a 5G environment there will be a lot more equipment. In fact, the number of cell sites will increase dramatically to support and propagate the higher frequency bands that will transmit 5G data traffic over the air. This is when network management tools will come into their own. In 2019 we will see the deployment of automated networks driven by software, and controlled by virtual machines and artificial intelligence,” Broughton concludes.
CSPs and ISPs will begin to integrate security
Yossi Atias, general manager of IoT Security at BullGuard (former founder/CEO of Dojo Labs) sees a clear role for network operators in securing the safety of their end users. Next year, he says, “will see the first IoT security service launched by CSPs (communication service providers) in US and Europe. The focus will be on securing the smart connected home and small businesses.”
“Attacks will change,” Atias continues. “There will be more botnet attacks as hackers rely on the long con — users can be part of an inactive botnet for months or years without being detected. Also, ransomware is slowly being replaced by mining as in stealing CPU/GPU time from users. This generates a lot of money on a great scale and it’s kind of harmless for users.”