Network technologies have evolved rapidly, providing users with higher bandwidth, faster big data analytics, and service offerings, but 5G will be different. 5G disruptions to industries will be massive, bringing about the increased deployment of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The growth of 5G-enabled services for different industry verticals means service providers will need to look into how their network architecture can meet 5G requirements to capture these new business opportunities.

We believe that using Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) to implement control and user plane separation can enable scalability and flexibility of network configurations for 5G requirements. In addition, it also provides ease-of-operation for future services through network automation.

Service requirements of 5G

There are three categories of 5G use cases :

  • enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB)
  • ultra-reliable low latency communication (uRLLC)
  • massive machine-type communication (mMTC)

Each service has unique requirements for its applications that it mandates to the transport infrastructure. For example, eMBB requires high bandwidth and relaxed latency; mMTC requires low bandwidth and massive connection scale; and uRLLC requires high bandwidth, ultra-reliability, and ultra-low latency. Cisco 5G Innovation uses the network in a programmable-manner to remain relevant to these applications.

As governments around the world invest in smart cities development, 5G uRLLC and mMTC will play a major role in autonomous vehicles and smart transportation and homes, connecting billions of IP-based devices. While 5G’s uRLLC and eMBB  is expected to be key for sophisticated healthcare services like remote surgery.

The Impact

  • Autonomous cars

Cisco is working with Hyundai to develop a hyper-connected intelligent car. A configurable and secure platform set up within the car using Software Defined Vehicle (SDV) architecture and end-to-end networking, including tactile internet.

The new platform will enable new, high-speed services through an integration layer between software and legacy hardware, with first-generation solutions for 1Gbps Ethernet, increasing in-vehicle bandwidth. All this allows for fast deployment of new services and vehicle-to-vehicle communications and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity (for example, connecting cars to lights and parking meters).

  • Tactile internet and healthcare

5G’s reliability and ultra-low latency intervals can help improve the quality of healthcare. It can boost the capability of robots to learn to recognize new objects and perform complex tasks by leveraging on tactile internet, the encoding of physical interaction.

In other words, 5G is paving the way for a new generation of robots. The robots can be controlled in near real-time and connected to people and machines globally, handling massive amounts of data.  For example, robots and humans will be connected by 5G in operating rooms with a team of surgeons on the other side of the globe or in more than one location, to provide surgery. With tactile internet, the surgeon will have an almost real-time “tactile feel’ via the robots performing the actual surgery. Increase in bandwidth will help transmit higher resolution images and video for the surgeon too.

The number of use cases for 5G is growing and we have a comprehensive suite of offerings ready to help:

  • Services: Planning for new 5G-enabled services
  • Infrastructure: Mapping the right 5G infrastructure to meet your needs
  • Automation: Helping to make the mass network scaling for 5G simpler to manage, operate and secure

The number of internet connected devices is expected to connect more than 27.1 billion[1]  on service provider networks by 2021.Learn more about Cisco ‘5G Now’ portfolio that is ready to help service providers exploit their network resources to bring new value-added and revenue-generating services for customers.

[1] Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast (VNI), 2016-2021




Sean Wang

Customer Solutions Architect

Global Service Provider, APJ