On October 13th, 2020, the Apple announcements were another highlight of 5G being part of the here and now. Their invite’s slogan of “Hi, Speed” highlighted even further one of the main benefits that 5G has to offer.
In this blog, we will pick out some of the highlights and reflect on Apple’s and the market's perspective about the state of play for 5G and how service assurance will be essential for delivering on the promise of 5G.
5G got real
Traditionally, Apple is cautious when embracing new mobile technologies and has been known to wait for them to mature before entering the market. For this announcement to say, “5G got real” sends a clear message about the state of 5G. The latest figures state that there are over 100 commercial 5G networks launched worldwide, on top of which there have been some additional private 5G network launches. These include BT working with Bosch to create a smart factory and Lufthansa Technik gaining a spectrum license for LTE and 5G, which will enable remote inspections of engine parts. However, Apples’ 5G announcement cements the notion that 5G will change the way we live our lives for the long-term.
The announcement placed a strong emphasis on how 5G will have a real impact on our day to day lives.
In partnership with Verizon, the announcement focused heavily on the changes in performance 5G will bring. As stated by Verizon’s CEO, Hans Vestberg, during the presentation, “5G will bring a new level of performance for downloads and uploads, higher quality video streaming, more responsive gaming. Real-time interactivity and so much more, 5G networks are more advanced with lower latency and less network congestion.”
These super-fast speeds will bring changes to the way we live and work. From giving physicians the ability to download full diagnostic scans in seconds to using apps like JigSpace, which accelerates the setup of complex workspaces, reducing the time frame from weeks to days. Arun Mathias, VP Wireless Software Technologies and Ecosystems, stated during the launch, “We’ve completed 5G testing on over 100 carriers in over 30 regions, and we’re seeing impressive peak speeds on iPhone 12, up to three and a half gigabits per second in ideal conditions.” These higher network speeds will also increase security as people will be less likely to connect to unsecured public WiFi hotspots. 5G’s blistering speeds also mean shorter download times and real-time interactivity between subscribers.
Coupled with the network speeds will be massive reductions in latency and network congestion to enable near real-time reactions for multi-player cloud gaming and the use of Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) in a near doubling of 5G enabled stadiums, venues, airports, and stations, reinventing these experiences.
The role of Service Assurance
None of these promises can be a reality without a fully optimized 5G network, which requires next-generation 5G service assurance to deliver intelligent end-to-end monitoring. If 5G just got real, then that means service assurance for 5G has been real for some time.
To effectively monitor and optimize the network and deliver the super-fast speeds and ultra-low latency promised by 5G, operators need a fully cloud-native service assurance platform to understand the 5G customer experience and the end-to-end service quality. 5G assurance needs to be built using Containerized Network Functions (CNFs) for smooth integration and automation with the operators’ orchestration and interoperability with the cloud environment.
Operators will need to collect data from multiple sources, including packet feeds using containerized probes and event-based feeds (Network events and Event Detailed Records), to gain full network visibility across the 5G network. Combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for anomaly detection, operators will be able to pinpoint customer-affecting issues at speed. Along with advanced troubleshooting tools fed by probe-based data, operators can drill down from a macro to the micro level in real-time and resolve the network degradations. All this will be crucial for operators looking to assure the 5G customer and service experience while delivering these complex use cases.
5G is here and here to stay. 5G promises blistering speeds and ultra-low reliable latency, which will be the cornerstones to delivering the compelling use cases Apple mentioned in their announcement. However, behind every exciting use case is a service assurance solution making sure services are top-quality, and the customer experience is high.
5G and Service Assurance go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other, which is why operators will sooner incorporate an automated, cloud-native, containerized, service assurance solution, the smoother their 5G deployments will be.
Disclaimer and forward-looking statements
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