Envision a world where all machines are wirelessly connected and mission-critical apps are prioritized over less critical communications. Wireless network speeds are blazing at 20 Gigabits per second or higher and network latency is mere milliseconds.
This vision sounds appealing but it’s still very unclear how today’s 4G networks will morph into tomorrow’s 5G vision. That’s why so many companies are investing in R&D to work on 5G development. In fact, Research and Markets predicts that 5G investments and R&D will account for nearly $5 billion by 2020.
Virtualization of the network will play a key role in laying the groundwork for 5G. Operators will need to to leverage software-defined networking (SDN) to create a network topology that includes multiple hierarchies. The different hierarchies will contain RAN radios of different sizes.
Perhaps the biggest unknown about 5G is how it will be monetized. Operators will not be able to keep charging consumers more and more for data. Instead they are already investigating new business models that will allow them to recoup their investments from partners – whether those partners are providing video content that they want consumers to watch on their wireless devices or car makers that want to differentiate their latest cars from the competition by sending automobile diagnostic info over the 5G network.