Pivotal’s Perspectives on 5G
Posted on May 7, 2018 | Pivotal Staff
5G has many “game changing” attributes. The stated goals of multi-gigabit data rates, <1ms latency and 100s of billions of devices (IOT) are the customer-facing ones and are mostly enabled by new spectrum and 3GPPs freshly minted New Radio (NR) specs. The industry-facing goals are even more far reaching. Realizing fixed 5G at mmWave, let alone mobility, will require densification of base station infrastructure. Open and disaggregated system standards will allow for less costly non-proprietary hardware and more plug-and-play in the network.
Think about how data networks were once Cisco-centric (firewall, router, VPN, etc.) and are now much more disaggregated and less costly. Virtualized components for RAN and Core using generic hardware also paves the way for Network Slicing, which is important to supporting the numerous and varied services envisaged by 5G. Network Slicing allows for things like Mobile Edge Computing and a fluid blending of the cloud and edge. This provides incredible flexibility for caching apps at the edge or putting core components closer to the users. Virtual and augmented reality will rely heavily on all of this.
As for 5G’s establishment in the marketplace, it is all about the US right now. Verizon has led the way with its fixed broadband 5G mmWave trials this year and has announced plans to provide service in several cities by year’s end. AT&T, which also owns some millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, has announced some limited mobility trials. The chip makers and handset folks are also in tow with some early devices. T-Mobile is now interested in acquiring mmWave spectrum. Sprint will try to use its Band 41 spectrum at 2.5 GHz for 5G and may have some limited success. Also, CBRS spectrum at 3.5 GHz will be coming on line which will have some traction.
mmWave will introduce gigahertz of spectrum offering tremendous gains in throughput. Fortunately for Pivotal, all roads in mmWave lead to beamforming and we have a sizable advantage in terms of Cost, Size, Weight and Power Consumption (C-SWaP) to phased arrays or other systems.