COVID-19 has forced some rapid changes upon Australia’s economy and, as a result, more business leaders are seeing the benefits of high-speed wireless for remote teams and workplaces. With 75% of the Australian population expected to be covered by the Telstra 5G footprint by June 2021,2 it’s time to prepare for everything 5G offers.
Let’s explore three ways you can prepare your business for wireless 5G.
1. Avoid reliance on one network type: prepare for fast wireless access
Every business needs a network to be part of the digital economy, however relying on one type of network can hold the business back. Access should not be all or nothing and having a mix of fixed and wireless enables your business to meet demand, and adapt to change. Everything from near real-time field force automation to multiple deployment scenarios will be enabled by 5G, allowing you to focus on delivering application performance and boosting employee productivity.
To prepare for 5G, businesses that are in 5G areas should consider adopting multi-service networks and mixing and matching solutions, including fixed and wireless internet with upgraded 5G compatible products (being mindful of coverage, 5G compatible devices and 5G compatible plans) Adding wireless as a co-primary or secondary link also helps achieve better reliability with failover and increases bandwidth.
5G opens up the possibilities of faster speeds than Wi-Fi in countries that have leading 5G deployments. In Australia, Opensignal measured the average 5G download speeds with Telstra achieving 232Mbps on average in August 2020.3
2. Review your applications: 5G can power many different apps
5G offers much more than just a speed boost. It is set to change the way we do business and will bring a level of connectivity, and opportunities, never before seen. Wireless 5G will enable a wide variety of industry-specific solutions. All sectors, including public health, emergency services, government, financial services, retail, transportation and logistics could all benefit from 5G applications – from remote monitoring to asset management.
By driving the convergence of information and operations technologies, the attributes and capabilities of 5G should be part of any digital transformation plan, with applications updated to take advantage of high-speed wireless. For example, as workloads are moved to the cloud, you can plan the move of latency sensitive workloads to 5G-enabled mobile edge computing platforms, instead of the nearest region operated by a cloud provider.
5G is not a standalone technology, but an enabler for other innovations in cloud, IoT, applications and many use cases driven by its high availability networks and low latency. By bringing latency down (potentially below 5 milliseconds) exciting real-time, mission-critical applications, such as remote monitoring and control of robotics, factory automation, autonomous vehicles and even surgery will all be possible.
Massive machine type communications, or mMTC, are well suited to asset monitoring and predictive maintenance to reduce operating costs.
In yet another benefit of wireless 5G, network slicing enables mobile network operators to create multiple virtual networks over a common physical infrastructure. A ‘slice’ can be configured (e.g. bandwidth, security and policy) to deliver the performance required for specific use cases.
3. Consider managed services in a different way: there is value in specialist advice and training
Wireless 5G will drive a lot of change, but you don’t need to go it alone.
Businesses have different management options, including do-it-yourself, co-management (partly managed by a third-party service provider) and fully managed services and the management option should be chosen based on the complexity of the network and what applications the wireless 5G solution enables.
If you choose to manage the network solution in-house, you can still get the value of specialist advice and training from a managed services provider. For example, networking solution providers now offer cloud-based management tools that can enable greater visibility and simplicity for network solution management.
A fully managed service can be advantageous if organisations want end-to-end visibility, advice and training, with management across different networking technologies.
When engaging with a service provider, reviewing their roadmap is crucial, especially in light of the rapid development of 5G and software-defined networking technologies.
To thrive in a fluid, fast-changing environment, 5G is the future of a world forever changed by COVID-19. Forward-looking organisations have started to work with technology partners to explore the different possibilities of 5G now.
With 5G, businesses now transforming themselves to become a digital enterprise, can ultimately also become a wireless enterprise.