Posted on behalf of contributing author:  Ian McLaughlin

Ian has spent the past 10 years working on leading communication enablement technologies across networking, telecommunications and healthcare. As a Product Manager in Enterprise Routing, Ian works on key Cisco strategic initiatives, including 5G, edge computing, and hyper-converged infrastructure.


As the dawn of 5G is upon us, Cisco is hard at work to bring the next generation of cellular technology to benefit customers with Cisco SD-WAN. We are looking beyond the much-hyped speed improvements with 5G to tackle the most pressing security and performance challenges that are also coming. Cisco SD-WAN will continue to provide value throughout this market shift with secure, simple management for our customers with or transitioning to 5G.

Security Continuity

One of the least discussed topics around 5G are the security challenges that it presents. Unlike 4G, 5G will split large frequencies into “slices”, which, ultimately, will result in an increase of potential attack vectors for the network and expose all slices to the potential risk of being compromised. The number of cellular connected devices (i.e. network entry points) throughout the enterprise WAN is also expected to grow. Cisco SD-WAN will continue to provide end-to-end security for the increasingly complex network by enabling consistent policy enforcement and network abnormality tracking, even as the speed and magnitude of events increase with 5G.

Enterprise Efficiency

Application performance for 5G will be another critical focus for enterprises, as more data is sent between the edge, data center, and cloud. Yes, 5G will provide a bigger transmission pipe that can improve service level agreements for customers, but we cannot think of 5G in 4G terms. The reality is that applications and workloads will expand in the new environment, making quality of service a continuing priority. Furthermore, 5G technology will set new standards for global commerce, which means that latency of more than 10 milliseconds could be a competitive disadvantage in the future. Cisco SD-WAN will ensure opportunities aren’t lost to latency helping enterprises maintain service level agreements through SD-WAN’s AppQoE feature.

5G Roll-out

Two important considerations to understand how soon enterprises will be impacted by 5G are the forecasted timelines for deployment and adoption. Global service providers will utilize two different frequency types that face respective deployment issues but are planning for an aggressive network build-out in the race to 5G. While many of the initial deployments will be on the Sub-6 GHz standard, 5G coverage is projected to reach 40% of the global population by 2024.

Since adoption of 5G will likely be more modest than carrier deployment, enterprises will still be left to manage 4G, 5G, DSL, Ethernet, and MPLS connections over the coming years. Fortunately, Cisco SD-WAN provides a virtual overlay that allows customers to focus on application performance across the network instead of individual WAN services. The SD-WAN zero-touch deployment capability also enables easy set-up of any connection type with safety and security.

Cisco will continue to build off of its strong history in combining cellular technology with leading networking platforms. We encourage our community to learn how enterprises are benefiting from Cisco SD-WAN and to stay tuned in for Cisco’s enterprise focused 5G blog series, where we will dive deeper into the benefits of 5G.



Kiran Ghodgaonkar

Senior Manager, Enterprise Marketing

Intent-based Networking Group