The approach of 5G brings with it the promise of a whole range of exciting new use cases. But before we strap on our VR headsets, the operators need to create networks that live up to the promises.
Unlike the nimble startups which are developing a lot of the technologies that will benefit from 5G, large operators can be slow to adapt to change. In his presentation today at 5G World, Matthias Sauder, Director Network Mobile, VodafoneZiggo Netherlands, gave an update on their current activities to build a network ready for 5G and the issue of speed came up a fair bit.
“As an operator we need to move quicker than before,” said Sauder, highlighting demand from consumers and industry to achieve faster, more reliable networks. “One of the first steps we have to take is getting into the world of NFV and SDN and moving towards a fully virtualised network.”
This seems to be easier said than done. It’s complex to implement virtualisation and many operators have hit barriers integrating this with their current network architectures. Sauder, however, insists it is feasible to move quickly into a virtualised network and that this is the only way for operators to optimise their networks in a scalable way.
As for their updates, VodafoneZiggo have already hit milestones on current LTE networks in their journey to 5G, with a nationwide narrowband IoT network launched at the end of last year and more than 40% of their voice traffic on VoLTE. They are also planning the first services for enterprise customers via network slicing on 4G later in 2018.
Whilst 5G may still be tantalisingly out of reach for most, Sauder is focussed on innovating now and bringing new developments to market as soon as possible. With seemingly every other industry churning out new tech and features at an ever-increasing rate, telcos need to do the same.
At 5G World 2018, we’re surrounded by lots of fast-moving technologies, with co-located events focussing on AR, VR, AI, Blockchain and plenty more tech buzzwords. Perhaps this will give operators a nudge to innovate faster in the run up to 5G.