5G networks will be based on a 5G architecture that will spawn an entirely new ecosystem full of potential technological and enterprise innovations. The 5G architecture of those networks will support thousands of new applications not only in consumer and business technology but also in vertical markets such as manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and automobiles.
That 5G architecture—the building blocks of which are still mostly unknown—will have a huge impact on today’s mobile networks, physical networking, and computing facilities, hosting and deployment systems, and service and infrastructure orchestration. The networks will require a sophisticated integration of massive computing and storage infrastructures. In the new 5G architecture, mobile operators, in particular, will need to plan for the necessities of higher capacities, denser cell-site grids, deployments at the street level, virtualized network functions (VNF), and mission-critical applications.
The 5G Architecture’s Impact on Backhaul
The flexible and programmable 5G networks of the future will represent a radical network evolution in terms of capacity, performance, and spectrum access in both radio and non-radio network segments, including mobile backhaul networks. In that regard, operators are already anticipating big changes in how the foundational architecture of mobile networks is built.
The forecasted increase in capacity density of 5G networks will result in more capacity per site at Radio Access Network (RAN) and at the backhaul layer—and a far denser mobile grid. Watch for the architecture to use macro cells, small cells, traditional towers, rooftop antenna, and even physical infrastructure hardware throughout the smart city.
All-Cloud 5G Architecture
Operators are already in the midst of virtualizing their networks and services, in the form of cloud services and software-defined networking (SDN)/network functions virtualization (NFV)—paving the way to further evolution of the backhaul. Essentially, the 5G architecture will incorporate an all-cloud digital transformation of networks, operation systems, and services.
An SDN/NFV-supported foundation means that the 5G architecture will boast cloud-native access, transport, and core networks—enabling diversified 5G services and key technologies such as edge-to-edge network slicing and component-based network functions. Also, whereas today’s networks tend to integrate both the user and control planes, the 5G architecture will separate these planes, thereby improving flexibility, facilitating centralized control, and ensuring easy network slicing.
The Coming 5G Architecture
Cutting-edge technologies and a redesigned wireless network architecture will be the foundation of the coming 5G architecture. These innovations are still in their early stages, as operators and vendors continue their testing, and they will coalesce into a standard that meets the increasingly hungry demands of global communications.