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Article | April 20, 2020
Latency – the time it takes for devices to communicate with each other or with the server that’s imparting information – was already pretty low with 4G, but 5G will basically make it disappear. This development is great news for new tech forays into remote real-time gaming and self-driving cars, as the communication needs to be instantaneous for hiccup-free gameplay and to guarantee the safety of passengers. lthough there has been much media coverage regarding 5G’s health-related dangers and conspiracy-driven connection to the coronavirus, many people are still in the dark about what the 5G network can bring to the everyday internet user.
Cisco envisions a future in which enterprise’s WANs are connected not by MPLS or broadband, but instead by high-speed, low-latency cellular networks, or what it calls the wireless WAN. Once relegated to failover, Cisco says today’s cellular networks, in particular 5G, offer high enough throughput and low enough latency to be viable alternatives to traditional wired networks. “About 10-years back everyone would say that my primary circuit from the enterprise branch was MPLS and then the higher bandwidth speed of having an internet circuit became a viable alternative,” said Shankar Ramachandran, director of product management, routing platform at Cisco, in an interview with SDxCentral.
As more home-bound people self-isolate in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus, they are changing internet traffic patterns and consumption in a major way. According to Cloudfare, a provider of internet optimization, security, and availability services to 10% of the world's websites, demand for video conferencing, streaming services like Netflix, news, and online shopping coming from residential broadband networks is surging. Traffic originating from businesses and universities is slowing.
5G necessitates a different network strategy. Unlike previous generations, 5G deployment is not only about adding more sites and increasing backhaul capacity. In fact, it is more about rethinking the whole network architecture to make it agile. The high capacity requirements of 5G will necessitate the use of small cells in cities and areas of high footfall (such as airports) to complement national macro networks. Private networks (for example to sell into enterprise customers) and the concept of a neutral host (such as for sports stadiums) are further examples of diversification.
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