Following a successful 5G World 2016, we take a look at the event’s highlights, and what the future holds for 5G.
With over 250 speakers, 60 exhibitors and a highly anticipated 5G live demo zone, 5G World 2016 didn’t disappoint. The event (formerly LTE World Summit) attracted over 4,000 delegates, bringing together telecom operators, solution providers and IoT specialists from across the world. Held at the London Olympia, the exhibition floor was packed, with some striking, interactive stands from the likes of Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei to name but a few.
The two day event, along with the Operator Mindshare sessions provided an exciting insight into the future of network evolution. When it came to 5G, we were particularly impressed by South Korea Telekom and Docomo Japan, who presented on the progress of their ongoing research into 5G technology. The first large scale trials are expected to take place at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea – just 20 months away!
Top 5G demos
An undisputed highlight of the event was of course the 5G network demos from Nokia and Ericsson. For us, Nokia really stood out with their AirScale radio access technology, attracting a huge amount of interest over the two days. Throughout the Demo Zone there was a strong focus of the actual use cases of 5G, with connected cars, robotics and healthcare leading the way. It was also great to see Virtual Reality still holding strong, with interactive demos from Huawei and HTC at the event.
A theme that came up in multiple presentations and panel discussions, data latency is now emerging as one of the key drivers for 5G. Younger users expect instantaneous access to online content and videos, and to deliver this we need to see a data latency of at least 10 milliseconds or less from 5G.
The 5G architecture itself was another hot topic. A change from a network focused architecture to a service and business orientated architecture is needed. To achieve this, network slicing is key. This enables CSPs to quickly roll out new services across the network to support the demand from the IoT, more specifically connected cars and smart cities. The ongoing transition to NFV is the first step towards this.
The Future of 5G
As expected, Radio Access Network (RAN) emerged as the biggest cost for operators, and therefore the technology that will require the most focus. Slicing RAN will be a big technical challenge, but a necessary one if the technology is to fulfill its potential.
Looking ahead, one big challenge for 5G will be harnessing the right skills to manage the network. According to Paul Ceely, Head of Network Strategy at EE and Franz Seiser, Vice President of Core Networks and Services at Deutsche Telekom, CSPs will need an influx of software engineers to work alongside their network engineers to be truly successful in the roll-out and management of 5G.
Another year down, and another great event! We look forward to heading over to 5G Asia in September to see how 5G development evolves over the next few months and beyond. If you missed us at the Europe event, book an appointment to meet at 5G Asia to discuss your operational intelligence needs.