Ready or not, here comes 5G
We returned recently from Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles. Just last year, the industry was predicting commercial launches for 2020. Well, at this year’s show, it was evident that those already ambitious timetables have become further accelerated. In fact, operators were shouting from the rooftops about near-term 5G deployment plans. This follows recent advancements in standards development and a number of lab and field trials.
Yes, the race is officially on to lead in delivery of live 5G services. But is the industry truly ready to move as fast as it says it is? After all, ensuring that the many complex components, like new devices, radios, and networking technologies work properly and interoperate is no small task. But they must if early 5G rollouts are to be successful.
Proceed with caution: 5G brings inherent challenges and risks
The acceleration towards 5G dramatically shortens the typically critical timeframes needed to understand, prove and validate supporting technologies. It also increases the technological, security and capital management risks.
Yet 5G is not a straightforward transition from 4G. It brings not only a new architecture, radio network and core network, but also a plethora of new devices and device types, such as 3GPP smartphones that support multiple spectrum bands and a wide variety of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. The massive scale of device connections and highly-diverse traffic patterns will impact validation, “rainy day,” and load testing, and complicate traditional performance and handoff testing.
That’s not to mention the dizzying transition complexity, comprising 4G extensions and 5G non-standalone interim solutions, as well as the simultaneous deployment of hybrid networks, network slicing and virtualization. And of course all of the inherent security vulnerabilities that come with significantly broadening attack surfaces.
Strategic testing to meet compressed 5G timelines
If we are to ensure that the communications industry fulfills its promise to safely and successfully accelerate to 5G in the face of complexity and urgency, new testing and assurance strategies that break down the traditional process and department silos are a must. They should be timely, efficient and agile, and integrated across the lab, field and out into the deployed network. New test and assurance strategies should include a combination of intelligent automation, new test methodologies, and the use of common tools and streamlined, end-to-end DevOps Continuous Testing practices.
Are you ready for 5G?
As you accelerate to 5G, plan to have a comprehensive, practical testing strategy that prepares you for delivery of new and differentiated services – and all of those aforementioned risks that come along with them.
Follow our 5G blog series and download our Accelerate 5G white paper to learn more about how 5G Network Validation, DevOps Continuous Testing, and 5G Cybersecurity testing will cost-effectively accelerate your journey to 5G.
Check back for more 5G assurance insights and join in the conversation by contacting us below. We look forward to hearing from you.
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