Selecting the right vendor is the best insurance for stress free 5G deployments
The industry is moving rapidly towards a 5G world with analysts predicting that we’ll reach 1 billion global subscribers by 2024. The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) is ramping up, and its effects will permeate most societies and economies with 5G acting as a prime enabling technology.
CSPs know this is a defining moment. The first 5G deployments are live, based on 5G new radio (NR) non standalone (NSA), but they still need to move to 5G NR standalone (SA) to get the full benefits of 5G. Clearly this kind of investment requires careful planning so that each step builds on what has gone before, and selecting the right vendor is a top priority. Here is our guide to help CSPs get 5G right and maximize the benefits of their 5G rollout.
Plan your entire 5G journey before starting. While 5G NR NSA focuses on upgrading the radio access and transport network to deliver greater capacity and speed, 5G NR SA will deliver flexibility and monetizable low latency use cases and industrial applications based on network slicing. However, to implement 5G NR SA, you’ll need to upgrade the core network and move some compute functions to the network edge. Selecting a vendor with expertise in all 5G domains ensures right first-time investments and avoids ‘redos’ of the RAN implementation. Also, keep in mind, it is not just the 5G credentials that are important. NSA deployments typically aggregate both LTE and 5G NR to boost performance, so you need a vendor with high performing LTE networks to underpin the higher speeds and capacity for your first monetizable 5G use cases. Look to 3rd party assessments to identify the best performing LTE networks. In any event, this is an important point. The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on the resilience of current networks. LTE is supporting the different traffic patterns and characteristics to existing locations as well as to new, temporary facilities, such as hospitals.
Scale and flexibility of portfolio are defining characteristics of the right vendor. As we know from the current situation, changes can happen overnight. So, can your vendor help with your 5G spectrum and traffic planning or supply equipment that operates in the low, mid and high frequency bands that 5G can operate? If you have limited 5G spectrum, can they deliver a Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) solution that makes use of the spectrum assets that are the foundation of your 2G, 3G and 4G coverage? And what other flexible deployment options can they provide to ensure capacity and coverage? For example, many wireless deployments will be in factories, malls and other indoor locations. A robust small cells portfolio will ensure 5G indoor coverage, while CloudRAN solutions give you more flexibility in the architecture of your network and the ability to respond quickly to capacity demands. Ideally, your vendor will have a Global services team that will help you build for success in the preparation, planning and deployment phases and offer radio validation testing facilities and cloud collaboration centers. Networks must be designed for security to build digital trust, and should take account of the need to minimize power consumption. They will also be driving new partner ecosystems and developing the value chains, automating network operations and service fulfillment as well as making substantial inroads to the enterprise market.
In short, the buying decision should be linked across domains. If CSPs plan and buy more than radio from the outset, early testing and pre-integration of e2e distributed cloud, e2e security, and e2e network slicing, for example, will minimize investment risk, deliver a higher level of performance and a faster time to market for enhanced use cases. And it will ensure that you, as the CSP, will deliver an extraordinary business.
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