Positioning Enterprise IT Infrastructure to Maximize 5G
5G as a revolutionary technology promises significant disruption for our daily lives and the existing IT architecture for many businesses. We are poised for unprecedented transformation through virtualization, AI and automation.
You were not expecting less of a technology that boasts a capacity of up to 10 Gbps. Put in context, this is 10 times what is derivable from existing 4G infrastructure. In particular, enterprises are set for a big boom if they can sufficiently tap into the powers of 5G.
We will see a deluge of solutions from network slicing to edge computing and super-enhanced data processing. With network slicing, for example, enterprises gain an extra dimension to creating virtual networks that more accurately map their unique IT environment.
From a financial perspective, enterprises will have to spend less on mobile networks. Office network wiring will also begin to be retired and 5G-optimized wireless environments will emerge in their place.
Thanks to the low latency 5G will give to enterprises, these organizations will be better positioned to explore innovative fusions between enterprise, cloud and mobile applications.
5G will technologically transform enterprises. But the bigger question is how well are enterprises ready for the 5G?
Infrastructure for 5G
Missing out on the ubiquitous transformation 5G ushers in would be crippling for enterprises. This amplifies the need for them to assess their existing IT infrastructure to ensure it will be compatible with the modern demands of 5G.
Which 5G provider?
Choosing the right 5G vendor specific to your business's needs includes preparing your internal IT architecture and network for compatibility with 5G. You will also explore giving your IT staff the technical know-how to support 5G.
A lot of choosing your 5G vendor has to do with implementation. 5G suppliers are investing enormously in building the befitting frameworks that can support the functionalities of 5G. This includes the procurement of fiber optics, routers and enhanced security. But will the vendor's efforts alone suffice?
U.S. organizations could be spending anywhere from $130 billion to $150 billion in fiber optic to reinforce a fluid 5G system's demands, according to a Deloitte study.
Despite setting ambitious implementation targets, providers are almost sentenced to falling short of their projected milestones, given the nascence of 5G and even the political intonation of competition between international suppliers.
This means more technical vulnerabilities as 5G services are rolled out — if not rushed out — to enterprises. It becomes pertinent to strategically coalesce with your chosen vendor to ensure the enterprise spends minimally to onboard or consolidate the supplied 5G systems into optimal and secure working states.
Chances are your existing network components will require significant upgrades, if not major overhauls, to become harmonious with 5G.
Take, for example, at the user level in an enterprise. Portable devices and smartphones will need to be replaced for enhanced efficiency regarding the distribution of access points (APs) in your 5G network.
You will need the placement of your APs specifically optimized for your users and overall IT environment. This will ensure sufficient AP coverage of each point in the region — with as much reduced sum total transmission power consumed by all APs.
At the infrastructure level, you will need upgrades in your major systems, such as enterprises migrating routers and switches to cater to increased edge computing demands.
5G-ready security technology
It is crucial to optimize your security infrastructure for the relationship between 5G and IoT. The emerging synchrony between IoT and 5G opens a new front in the war between your security team and cybercriminals, as the attack surface expands.
The bulk of gadgets in an IT environment won’t need to be connected to the enterprise's central network as in a hub-and-spoke arrangement.
With billions of IoT gadgets interconnected in a meshed edge ecosystem, enterprises will be exposed to more weak links in their security chains, consequently magnifying their risks.
Given this handicap, enterprises will need to re-invent their security technology for 5G. It becomes crucial for security to be designed in an edge-to-edge configuration across the multiple public clouds down to an enterprise's branch offices and its core network systems.
Enterprises will need flexible edge-to-edge hybrid system and harmony between conventional security strategies and innovative ones. In the face of such a blend, there will be an increased need for interoperability across the spectrum of an organization's security tools.
IT team trained in 5G
Your IT team needs an upgrade as 5G is technically steeper than 4G. You need your team adequately trained on accessing and managing multiple complex co-managed systems as 5G systems are implemented.
This doesn't mean you will be recruiting a new trailer load of 5G experts. To minimize the risks and disruptive effects to your organization, 5G deployment should be gradual, with a progressive phasing out of lower technologies.
At the start, you will need your 5G systems to co-exist with more traditional technologies, such as your low-power wide area network (LPWAN) and, of course, your 4G.
This coexistence between 4G and 5G could even span years — as you team ramps up their 5G expertise and network applications.