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Apr 18 2017

Looking for business certainty in 5G? Read this

Twitter: @nokianetworks

Certainty in business is highly sought after. No CEO likes nasty surprises. Yet when investing in unproven, future technologies, how can a company know it will get the performance and financial returns expected? When a new technology is as big as 5G, the need to minimize business risk becomes critical.

Working out exactly how 5G will perform in real situations is an issue Nokia has been thinking about and working on for some time. Finding the answer has taken the combined expertise of Nokia Bell Labs teams in market forecasting and techno-economic analysis, plus the skills and experience of Nokia radio network planning and optimization experts.

This effort has produced an unrivalled means of simulating 5G use cases and predicting with a high degree of certainty the performance that will be achieved and what it all means for an operator’s business case and technology options.

You can read about some of our experts insights in this recently published white paper, addressing top 5 key questions about 5G transformation and how to go about it.

The technical and economic modeling of 5G deployments is part of our 5G Acceleration Services. Using an advanced Nokia-developed simulation model, our experts are able to analyze typical 5G use cases that an operator wants to address. The results can be revealing … and, well, surprising. But in a good way.

Let’s take some examples. Our experts modelled three very different use cases to explore how well 5G performed against LTE and its evolving capabilities.

The first is an immersive video experience in a large stadium hosting a sports event. The aim is to deliver high quality virtual reality video to spectators so they can get into the action close up, or experience a completely new angle. The modeling found that while LTE could deliver the required video feeds, it could only reach a small proportion of the potential audience for the service – roughly a 5% take rate, which is not commercially viable. 5G, however, can achieve a 30% take rate, making the use case a real business proposition for an operator.

The second use case we explored was massive Internet of Things (IoT) across a smart city. Networks must support a huge range of IoT applications and devices with diverse needs for throughput, latency, mobility and reliability. While many apps generate little data traffic, they create huge amounts of signaling on the control plane. The real surprise was how well 5G handled this signaling storm, reducing signaling messages in the radio access network by nearly four times compared to LTE. This leads to a roughly 50-75% cut in network cost compared to LTE technologies. Less signaling also reduces the power consumption in IoT devices, extending their battery life.

The third scenario involves the smart factory. Part of the Industry 4.0 revolution, a smart factory depends on interconnected machines, products, materials and smart tools that interact seamlessly to optimize production. Flexibility is vital to enable agile manufacturing that can be switched around quickly to meet changing market demands. And of course, productivity cannot be endangered by poor communications reliability.

Fixed networks are conventionally used for factory connectivity as they offer the high reliability and performance required, but they lack flexibility. Moving machines around can entail substantial rewiring, causing delays and high costs. Mobile technologies offer the flexibility, but only 5G can achieve simultaneous ultra-low latency of less than 1 ms and 99.999% reliability.

This makes 5G perfect for stringent Industry 4.0 factory applications. The cost of connectivity in greenfield deployments is to up to five times lower with 5G than with wired technologies. Even replacing wired technology in an existing factory will deliver an attractive payback. All of which should make 5G for the smart factory pretty much a given.

These are just three use cases where 5G can help create a more prosperous outlook for operators – not maybe, but definitely. We can all be certain of that.

Read more about the detailed analysis of these cases in our recent white paper: The 5G advantage in real network scenarios.

Reporting this week from Brooklyn 5G SummitThe annual Brooklyn 5G Summit will explore the latest developments in 5G this week from 19-21 April, 2017. Check out the event program and you can register for the free live stream via IEEE.tv.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #services #ExpertAdvantage #ProfessionalServices

About Riitta Siira

Riitta is responsible for Nokia's 5G Services and strategic projects. She’s fascinated by the 5G world of opportunities and wants a front row seat when the first use cases are live. Her multiple devices and apps keep her connected with family and friends, and she loves to express herself through her blogs. Tweet me @RiittaSiira