5G Trends to Watch in 2021 (Part 2): 5G Presents New Network Considerations

By on March 3rd, 2021

With the growth of 5G comes unique considerations around cybersecurity, open networks, Wi-Fi 6, IoT, and 4G.

The threat of more widespread repercussions in the event of cyberattack is a challenge of 5G. As security remains an important consideration, secure access service edge (SASE), which is the cloud-based integration of security and network offerings, is expected to grow 116% through 2024, according to Dell’Oro Group.

Open networks, which allow internet service providers more options for 5G coverage, will also become more prominent in 2021. Malik Saadi, Vice President, Strategic Technologies at ABI Research explains, “The emergence of the Open Radio Access Network (RAN), network cloudification, and the adoption of edge computing are the key anchors that will form the foundation of next-generation open networks.”

On the indoor connectivity front, we may see a convergence of Wi-Fi 6 and 6E with 5G in the future. Tiago Rodrigues, Chief Executive at Wireless Broadband Alliance, comments, “The continued development of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 & 6E networks presents almost limitless potential for industry 4.0, residential connectivity, connected smart cities and more. But convergence is critical for all parties if they are to truly capitalize on the potential.” In other words, Wi-Fi 6 and 6E can complement, rather than compete with, 5G when it comes to indoor connection.

Thanks to the speed, reliability, and robustness of 5G, IoT, which is the connection of devices, endpoints, and assets, can now thrive on a massive scale. In fact, GSMA estimates that IoT will more than double in global connections to nearly 25 billion between 2019 and 2025.

Moreover, 5G private cellular and its ability to support a staggering number of IoT connections will allow manufacturing factories to become truly “smart” through health and safety wearables and better inventory management, among other enhancements.

Telecommunication companies have an opportunity to provide businesses with enterprise-ready applications that allow for this type of end-to-end tracking of assets, products, and services. Further, businesses that adopt new 5G technologies and implement IoT capabilities will potentially disrupt their markets.

Despite the growth of 5G and IoT, 4G will remain a dominant network option, accounting for 56% of connections by 2025. ABI Research forecasts that, in 2021, 4G will carry 75% of total mobile traffic. In the last few years, operators like Verizon and T-Mobile have refarmed older 2G/3G spectrum bands for 4G.

As 5G grows, so will IoT. However, 4G is not going away any time soon.

As demand and infrastructure for 5G increase, telcos and internet service providers will be wise to consider how 5G affects cybersecurity, what 5G options exist for open networks, how Wi-Fi 6 can complement 5G, how 5G empowers the Internet of Things, and what the remaining role of 4G will be.

 

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