The advent of 5G networks is often referred to in bald terms as not much more than a speed upgrade. Nothing could be further from the truth: 5G changes pretty well everything in the way people (and businesses in particular) will use cellular networks.

5G New Radio support incredibly fast data rates, deep coverage, low-latency and long battery life which makes it an optimal radio technology for a wide range of use cases & environments, including: factory floors, retail/warehouse/branch/franchise sectors, autonomous vehicles.

But it’s not just about the radio either. The ace in the hole of 5G is the broader platform where programmability allows the network to be sliced and customized according to the needs of the use case. That means it will be possible to provide granular control over the configuration and deployment of network resources to make it possible for 5G to support wide range of services from enhanced consumer experiences to the most mission-critical business environments.

First, enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) takes the advantages of the 5G New Radio (1 Gbps user data rates, 10Tbps per square kilometer data capacity and sub 10ms latency, for example) to accommodate some of the most bandwidth-thirsty applications we have today. That means 4K video, augmented/virtual reality, streaming analytics and other services that would previously have required fixed wireless infrastructure.

Second, Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) adds the stability to reassure owners of can’t-go-down environments with high availability and resilience needs such as autonomous vehicles, some robots and drones, industrial equipment and medical systems.

Third and last, massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) will support the connection density, power consumption and low complexity required by the Internet of Things to keep costs low and field maintenance minimal in some of the most challenging environments – think smart cities, agriculture, utilities, healthcare and supply-chain logistics.

For the carriers who can get it right, the ability to leverage the capabilities for the 5G network will allow them to be critical digitization partners to businesses. But the B2B space has always been a partner play that requires tightly-knit partner ecosystems. At Cisco, we have decades of experience in building enterprise and service provider networks that provide customers with platforms for broader change and competitive differentiation. We’re knee-deep in emerging technologies that will make a difference such as CBRS-enabled indoor access points that are likely to work hand-in-hand with Wi-Fi in, for example, factory settings.

We’re wide open to working with cellular carriers to provide the service levels and assurances that the industrial world requires and if we’ve piqued your interest please note this is just the second of a four-article sequence examining the 5G opportunity – don’t miss out on it.




Kirk McBean

Director, Systems Engineering and Architecture

Service Provider