How 5G is transforming business operations
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How 5G is transforming business operations

How 5G is transforming business operations

The 5G connectivity is estimated to account for 25 per cent of all mobile connections by 2025

Gulf Business

In recent years, connectivity has been revolutionised worldwide and, as a result, influenced how businesses conduct their operations. 5G is predicted to reach one billion new customers in the coming years, making it the most rapidly adopted mobile data transmission technology compared to all prior generations. Regional network providers are investing in this next-generation architecture, with 5G connectivity estimated to account for 25 per cent of all mobile connections by 2025.

While the enhanced services enabled by 5G will generate revenue for communication service providers (CSPs), the transition to a cloud-native architecture has added significant complexity. Kubernetes design, obligatory encryption, 5G standalone (SA), edge computing, and network slicing are just a few of the new issues. However, if providers do not incorporate observability – which measures end-to-end performance from the application to the network level – from the start, new services will take off later than expected, and the user experience cannot be guaranteed. Observability solutions must provide seamless continuity across existing 4G and new 5G networks.

The shift to the cloud

The year 2022 saw significant advancements in realising the potential of 5G, with tangible and quantitative benefits. Yet, there are other reasons for the shift to cloud-native architectures; they also provide various benefits that would otherwise be unavailable.

For example, the cloud makes extending network capabilities more manageable and flexible. The cloud simplifies updating the network repository function (NRF), which maintains an up-to-date repository of all 5G network elements and the services they deliver. A cloud architecture allocates network resources to where and when needed, effectively ‘right-sizing’ processes.

This flexibility is especially essential when two factors of 5G are considered. Firstly, the telecom industry is transitioning from a “horizontal” to a “vertical” model, and network slicing is a critical component of this transition. This allows for using numerous separate and virtualised logical networks on the same network infrastructure. 5G network slicing necessitates a cloud architecture to enable key management and general operations. Each network slice is segregated within an end-to-end network that is tailored to fulfil a specific application’s requirements.

Second, 5G use cases are significantly more critical than prior generations – and not simply from a financial one. People’s lives may depend on the reliability of 5G services. Ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC), for example, is a 5G service designed for mission-critical, ultra-latency-sensitive services. It offers novel applications such as virtual reality, self-driving cars, remote surgery and others. CSPs must be able to ensure the availability of specific operations and services through URLLC. The capacity to swiftly discover and implement remedies for network faults is consequently critical, demonstrating the relevance of observability.

With the transition to the cloud for 5G occurring at the ‘core’ and ‘network edge,’ an open and interoperable framework will be required to ensure a perfect end-user experience, which is once again only attainable through the cloud.

Delivering better customer experiences with 5G

How the cloud can accelerate the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution within the 5G ecosystem is a priority topic for several organisations trying to better their business processes. A higher level of automation is required to achieve this. Without it, the next generation of networks will be unable to function correctly, affecting everything from cybersecurity to IT troubleshooting. These features can help organisations uncover the root cause of problems and prevent them from escalating further by utilising faster and better cloud-based AI technologies and automation.

The complexity of the 5G network and the wide range of ecosystem partners demand significant, AI-powered automation, unlike previous wireless generations. Customers are more likely to have a negative experience if they do not receive this assistance. Furthermore, with current personnel shortages affecting organisations globally and extended wait times for newly available data scientists, network automation can alleviate the strain for overburdened teams while allowing them to focus on the most mission-critical issues.

Finally, firms can only improve customer service if they can measure it. Service providers who incorporate observability from the start may measure and understand the type of customer experience they are providing and analyse what is and isn’t working and why.

Observability and security

While there are significant advantages of 5G when it comes to boosting corporate operations, the extra complexity and hurdles it brings mean that observability is no longer a ‘nice to have.’ It is now vital for assuring and safeguarding mission-critical business activities, especially considering the growing number of use cases in which lives may be at stake. Furthermore, unlike 4G’s centralised design, 5G’s disaggregated architecture means the threat landscape has broadened and spread, making things more difficult. As a result, observability and security solutions have become “must haves” for overcoming the barriers created by 5G.

The good news is that observability is now possible in a cloud-native 5G standalone context, and it can work regardless of vendor, allowing for continued interoperability. Yet, because 5G creates a more innovative and competitive business landscape with various vendors, companies must engage with a vendor-agnostic independent security and observability provider to protect and assure the infrastructure.

Cloud-based networks and modern cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated, and this trend shows no signs of abating. This means that organisations must constantly be on the lookout for new attack methods or trends and countermeasures. Incorporating visibility enables organisations to take control of their cybersecurity posture and alter their digital processes for the long-term.

Overall, the continuing 5G rollout is giving rise to a slew of new enterprise business applications and services, allowing CSPs to expand into new vertical industries and increase revenue. Yet, the mission-critical services enabled by 5G place significant pressure on CSPs to ensure those services operate without interruption. The only way to accomplish this is to measure end-to-end performance by incorporating observability.

Gaurav Mohan is the VP – SAARC and Middle East at NetScout

Read: Telecom industry’s value creation blueprint for the future

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