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Aging Communications Systems: Risks and Opportunities

A TACTICAL APPROACH TO ENTERPRISE COMMUNICATIONS TRANSFORMATION

After several years of little to no investment in IT infrastructure, enterprise communications equipment is aging: performance is degrading and operations support costs are increasing. Aging communications systems cannot support the video, mobility and unified communications and collaboration capabilities that enterprises may require.

Telspan, in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent, help businesses transition to new enterprise communications systems. We help enterprises identify reusable components of their in-service system and make strategic investments in technologies that meet business and user needs.

The Alcatel-Lucent OpenTouch™ Suite allows enterprises to reuse many components of their legacy PBX infrastructure when they transition to a new communication platform, such as IP telephony and SIP-based multimedia communications — and to transition at their own pace. The OpenTouch Suite offers multimedia services, including video, mobility, and unified communications and collaboration, to meet the communication demands of today’s businesses.

THE STATE OF IT TELEPHONY IN THE ENTERPRISE

Enterprise telephony systems are aging but the current economy does not make replacements or upgrades easy. After a dramatic decrease in 2009, IT spending worldwide is now on the upswing. However, revisions in forecasts to the overall GDP growth rate for the coming years suggest this recovery is fragile.

The private branch exchange (PBX) and office phone-set markets are experienced the same trend, with an overall compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of less than four percent from 2012 to 2016. Presently, the global hosted PBX market size is expected to grow from USD 4.73 billion in 2018 to USD 9.50 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 14.9% during the forecast period.

The hosted PBX market is gaining traction due to the rising need of enterprise mobility and rising adoption of the cloud and unified communications. Furthermore, low CAPEX and TCO, and the necessity to upgrade from traditional PBX to cloud-based PBX are driving the market.

The average enterprise telecommunications system life cycle is five to seven years, starting in 2000 (with the Y2K issue). The last five years were predicted to be one of the most active for telecommunications renewals, corresponding with trends such as bring your own device (BYOD), “appification”, “softwarization” and new go-to-markets based on cloud technologies.

Even though the adoption of new technologies based on unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), video and mobility has been increasing since 2011, this move did not occur as fast as expected because:

• The transition was viewed as complex, requiring multiple technologies that are sometimes costly and difficult to integrate.
• There was no firm proof that deploying UC&C would provide a return on investment (ROI).
• Many organizations delayed making capital investments to their networks during the poor and uncertain economic conditions of recent years.

For several years, during difficult economic times, many organizations have challenged their IT organization’s requests to invest in new equipment to keep pace with the evolution of networking. Businesses have shown reluctance to introduce new innovations in their network, preferring to work with the existing infrastructure. Consequently, many enterprise communications systems are ageing to the extent they are impacting business operations.

THE MYTH THAT OLD SYSTEMS ARE INEXPENSIVE

Many believe there is no need to replace aging systems as long as they are operational. This view neglects changes to business needs since the initial technical investments were made. Also, IT departments must try to provide new services using the older technologies that were not designed to support them.

This perspective does not take into account changes to the business and new demands those changes make on the technology infrastructure. IT departments are faced with trying to roll out new services on aging equipment that was not designed to support them.

Underestimated costs

The likelihood of equipment failures increases with aging, and failures are costly. Once equipment reaches end-of-life, no service level agreement (SLA) agreements for the equipment are available. Without a service contract, the business has no guarantee of resolution time or level of priority the equipment supplier will give if an issue arises. If the business needs to contact the supplier to resolve an issue, it will pay the highest price to open a case. Full prices in the industry can range between $4,000 and $10,000 per case, depending on the complexity. Therefore, operating services on equipment that has no service contract imposes unnecessary risk on the enterprise.

As new standards evolve and business systems are updated, the enterprise also runs the risk that IT will not be able to implement applications built on top of the aging system. New standards and protocols will not be compatible with the integration interface of the enterprise’s aging system.

If aging systems cannot support the new features the business wants, such as personal and professional contacts integration and rich application integration, employees may begin using their corporate cell phones instead, inside the enterprise, increasing corporate expenses.

WHAT ENTERPRISES NEED TO DO

Identifying the right time to invest in new enterprise telephony equipment is a difficult task. Each enterprise will need to do a cost-benefit analysis, comparing the cost of maintaining the existing infrastructure with the cost of upgrading equipment.

We know that mission-critical systems and applications depend on the technology that operates them. Consequently, technology decisions are also crucial business decisions. Including IT personnel in the analysis and decision-making of technology-based activities can help make better, more strategic decisions for the enterprise, and reduce the risk that equipment will become obsolete.

IT teams can help enterprises select the most appropriate technologies to meet business requirements by:

• Identifying how critical the communications system is to the business. If a system is mission-critical, reliability and security will be a high priority. This is a high priority in organizations that are driven primarily by processes, such as factories.
• Defining how innovative technologies can contribute to business efficiency. This is a high priority in organizations driven primarily by the business, such as retail sales.
• Estimating how easily users will adopt the new technology. Organizations are more effective when users adopt new technologies faster. User reaction can determine a project’s success. This is a high priority in creative businesses, which are driven largely by individual behaviors.

When the business and IT collaborate, they will be able to provide the enterprise with a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of retrofitting their aging communications system.
To begin this work, we suggest you assess:

• Sustainability of existing IT communications. Identify external factors, such as new regulations, industry standards and the enterprise’s contractual obligations. These changes may be achieved more efficiently or effectively with new technology, making the investment worthwhile.
• Age of the equipment. Verify if the vendor still supports the equipment, and if the hardware and software components are still compatible with each other. It may be beneficial to consider the level of risk the enterprise will tolerate.
• Service-level factors of the equipment. Determine if the network is experiencing decreased performance, availability, reliability or capacity limits; increased maintenance costs; and if it is difficult to find or retain people with the skills needed to operate the network. The number of people with expertise in those technologies decreases as people retire. And younger, new entrants to the work force have no interest in working in with aging systems. If the service levels are decreasing, the equipment’s age may be preventing the IT organization from delivering the services the business needs. Other factors, such as the difficulty of recruiting and retaining people, suggest that equipment age is causing other non-technical risks to the business.

THE STRATEGIC APPROACH

Conducting the review

There are a number of factors to evaluate when performing a strategic review of the sustainability of the enterprise’s telephony’s system.

Identify external factors

• Does the business need to comply with regulatory and legislative changes, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the United States? These changes may require new processes and equipment.
• Does the business have new contractual obligations that may provide opportunities? For example, new contracts may require additional software licensing, making it more economical to purchase a site license than individual licenses; thereby, allowing IT to extend the software to everyone in the enterprise.
• Are any service and support contracts about to terminate? Operating without support contracts increases the risk of system outages, high service costs and delays in issue resolution.
• Is the enterprise about to embark on any new enterprise-scale projects? These projects could be the construction of a new building, a new business application deployment, a new network infrastructure or a company acquisition. Initiatives like these offer the chance to upgrade enterprise telephony equipment and offer new services, reduce costs or improve efficiencies.

Define service levels

• Are performance levels decreasing?
• Is the system performance still compliant with internal SLA levels?
• Are users noticing a reduction in performance? Data from the trouble tracking system may help to find answers to these questions. Do employees complain about not being able to call colleagues because the lines are busy? Are they easily able to call someone who is listed in the enterprise’s directory of telephone and email contacts?
• Is the system operating close to system capacity — can you add dozens of new users before needing to install more hardware or software components?

Meet business expectations

• Have business conditions, requirements and expectations changed? For example, users might be using cell phones instead of desk phones. If the cell phones are not integrated with the company’s communications system, the security deployed in the communications system will be bypassed, and security compromised because conversations will not be encrypted. A lack of integration can also result in higher OPEX because the enterprise will not benefit from the system’s least cost routing (LCR) capabilities.
• Is the communications system meeting user expectations? Changes to the business can change users’ telephony requirements. An acquisition may require people in different locations to communicate regularly. New governance models may require a larger number of people to make decisions.
• Have your competitors changed how they communicate with customers?

Implications of aging equipment

• Are operational costs increasing? This is an indicator of an aging system.
• Is the number or the severity of issues increasing? The equipment may be operational but cause other networking problems. New components may not be compatible with the aging equipment. Eventually, your operating system and software will not run on servers you need to purchase.

Collecting this information is a complex activity and takes  considerable effort; however, the work will provide valuable information to make strategic decisions.

For more information on key factors to take into consideration when looking into the best solutions for business communications systems, check out Telspan’s 6 questions to answer.

Choosing the right direction

Aging systems increase operational costs and can generate new, uncontrolled costs caused by unmanaged network consumption by users. At the same time, the risk of major failures increases, leading to less availability and potential interruptions in the business. Eventually, it becomes necessary to upgrade the communications system.

A system upgrade offers an opportunity to plan and anticipate future needs, consider tools to improve productivity, and to optimize the communications infrastructure. This is an opportune time to address the business needs, such as ensuring that the solution:
• Is compliant with the company’s business continuity plans
• Provides more flexible communications so users can operate multiple devices — potentially their own — and telecommute
• Delivers a rich conversation experiences while protecting previous investments
• Democratizes the use of high definition (HD) video to help a distributed organization collaborate better by providing employees with video collaboration tools, such as video conferencing for the desktop

The transformation path should offer ways to:
• Diminish the level of risk
• Decrease operational expenses
• Re-allocate operational savings to budgets for innovation
• Introduce a roadmap for evolution
• Anticipate the costs of future upgrades
• Define new models for delivering communications services to lines of business or directly to end users

The transformation strategy is a good time to define or update the IT strategy. Even enterprises whose IT organizations are focused on avoiding risk can offer strategic recommendations and introduce innovation in the communication  infrastructure at this time.

THE ALCATEL -LUCENT PROPOSITION

The Alcatel-Lucent OpenTouch™ Suite of solutions is flexible, allowing a company to reuse elements of the in-service system, such as a legacy PBX, and building an updated system that can last for years without becoming obsolete.

Review what’s of value

Aging systems are costly, and create risks, but they may contain reusable components that can reduce transformation costs.

IP transformation makes sense for very dynamic organizations, where the savings on operational costs balances the IP investment. However, if employee moves are rare, there is no need to replace TDM phones with IP or Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) phones. It may also make sense to keep some components, such as DECT or wireless LAN (WLAN) infrastructure, and the contact center.

An enterprise needs to consider the costs of a massive rip-and-replace approach because these costs are often underestimated. The training for IT teams to be skilled on a new system can take 25 days for each engineer (industry average). Users will spend an average of three hours to learn how to use the new interface. By comparison, updating an existing system costs an average of two to five days for IT staff and has little impact to employees.

We help enterprises revive the components of their communications system that have value, and update only what makes sense. For example, an existing Alcatel-Lucent system, such as the Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX 4400 or an Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX™ Enterprise Communication Server (CS) PBX, can be transformed to the latest version of the OmniPCX Enterprise CS. Valuable assets such as telephone sets and existing cabling can be reused. The new system becomes the starting point for future evolution because it is the foundation of the Alcatel-Lucent OpenTouch Suite offering.

Understand what’s at stake for your business

The latest version of the OmniPCX Enterprise CS guarantees high availability. Its redundancy capabilities ensure business continuity, and disaster recovery plans can be put in place to meet company standards. The solution is compliant with most industry standards and regulations. For example, it is widely used in large banks that need to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations.

Enterprises can optimize deployments and data centers with the virtualization capability of the OmniPCX Enterprise CS. Its flexible architecture permits a high degree of centralization. Therefore, IT can realize substantial savings on operations by reducing the number of systems and locations. A single point of management is also provided to simplify operations.

We can provide enterprises with a set of communications tools, such as native conferencing capabilities that support mixed media, and allow users to move freely to any device during the same conversation.

Employees will be able to collaborate from any location — home, office or on the move — using the device of their choice, without disruption or compromise to quality or security. With easy real-time access to their business community and the ability to share documents and work on them collaboratively in real time, employees will improve their productivity and be able to react more quickly to meet business requirements.

The Alcatel-Lucent OpenTouch Suite offers flexible deployment modes, so IT departments can deliver a high standard of collaboration experiences from the enterprise data center or through cloud-based services.

Move toward business efficiency

Telspan and Alcatel-Lucent offer flexible scenarios to transition the enterprise communications system. The enterprise begins by updating their aging system to the latest version to provide a standard level of service that meets the expectations of the business and of IT — back to 99.999% reliability. Table 1 lists the transformation steps in the transition.

Aging Communications Systems

Evolve at your own pace

The Alcatel-Lucent OpenTouch Suite is composed of:
• A range of communications platforms designed to address different needs and markets, from pure IP telephony to rich, SIP-based, multimedia communications switching, in distributed or centralized modes, on customer premises equipment (CPE) or in hosted environments
• A series of communications applications to address business telephony, UC&C, mobility, video conferencing, video sharing, customer interactions and unified management needs
• A complete set of client applications and devices to deliver the conversation experience to users in the most suitable way: desk phones (TDM, IP or SIP), smart desk phones that are application capable, campus roaming solutions, dedicated video devices, interactive whiteboards, and a collection of applications dedicated to smartphones, tablets and PCs

To make the transition as smooth as possible and remove the risks of aging, systems are sold with multiyear evolution contracts as well as service maintenance agreements. This allows you to choose how to evolve toward an optimization or innovation scenario, with predictable pricing, when it makes sense to your business.

CONCLUSION

After several years of little or no investment in telephony equipment, enterprise communications systems are aging to the point that performance is degrading, operational support costs are increasing, and the systems are not meeting business needs. Enterprises are finding their equipment is no longer supported by the manufacturer, further increasing business risk and expenses in the event of failures.

Businesses can prevent these risks and associated costs if IT organizations play a more strategic role in the enterprise. The key is to get the maximum use from the technology and to replace it before performance degrades beyond acceptable levels (when the equipment is no longer supported), to avoid the risk of long outages and expensive repairs.

The Alcatel-Lucent OpenTouch Suite allows you to reuse many components that are already part of the legacy PBX infrastructure. It provides a flexible transition plan to migrate to IP when it makes sense to the business, and offers multilayer evolution contracts to remove the risks of aging technologies.

The OpenTouch Suite supports a variety of platforms, such as IP telephony and SIP-based multimedia communications. It includes several multimedia applications, such as video, mobility, and unified communications and collaboration, and offers client applications and devices to meet the communication behaviors of today’s businesses, including TDM, SIP and IP desk phones, video devices, and applications for smartphones, tablets and PCs.

The OpenTouch Suite also provides high availability and redundancy, to meet the enterprise’s business continuity and disaster recovery plans. And because the suite is flexible, you can decide to implement features and capabilities when it makes good business sense.

Unleash The Power Of Your Business Communications With Rainbow

Learn how Telspan can help you harness the power of Rainbow. Connect your workplace – GO DIGITAL. Just connect your existing phone system to our Rainbow Cloud and tap into the power of a mobile and collaborative workplace. Seamless communication beyond your company borders!

802.11 Standards

IEEE 802.11 PHY Standards Cheat Sheet

Every once in a while there are new IEEE 802.11 Standards, this time there were 3!  802.11ay, 802.11az and 802.11ba:

  • IEEE 802.11ay: Successor of 802.11ad with higher transmisson rates and extended transmission distance.
  • IEEE 802.11az: Called Next Generation Positioning (NGP), looks at ways to improve the location and positioning of users.
  • IEEE 802.11ba: Known as “Wake-Up Radio” (WUR), aimed at extending the battery life of devices and sensors within an Internet of Things network.

Now publicly available IEEE Std 802.11™-2016 was a reason to take another look at the 802.11 standards.

IEEE 802.11 PHY Standards cheat sheet:

802.11 Cheat Sheet
IEEE PHY 802.11 Standards Cheat Sheet

IEEE Std 802.11™: The original standard was published in 1997, revised in 1999 with MIB changes, and reaffirmed in 2003.

IEEE Std 802.11™-2007: A revision was published in 2007, which incorporated into the 1999 edition the following amendments:
— IEEE Std 802.11a™-1999: High-speed Physical Layer in the 5 GHz Band
— IEEE Std 802.11b™-1999: Higher-Speed Physical Layer Extension in the 2.4 GHz Band
— IEEE Std 802.11b-1999/Corrigendum 1-2001: Higher-speed Physical Layer (PHY) extension in the 2.4 GHz band
— IEEE Std 802.11d™-2001: Specification for operation in additional regulatory domains
— IEEE Std 802.11g™-2003: Further Higher Data Rate Extension in the 2.4 GHz Band
— IEEE Std 802.11h™-2003: Spectrum and Transmit Power Management Extensions in the 5 GHz band in Europe
— IEEE Std 802.11i™-2004: Medium Access Control (MAC) Security Enhancements
— IEEE Std 802.11j™-2004: 4.9 GHz–5 GHz Operation in Japan
— IEEE Std 802.11e™-2005: Medium Access Control (MAC) Quality of Service Enhancements

IEEE Std 802.11™-2012: This revision was published in 2012, which incorporated into the 2007 revision the following amendments:
— IEEE Std 802.11k™-2008: Radio Resource Measurement of Wireless LANs
— IEEE Std 802.11r™-2008: Fast Basic Service Set (BSS) Transition
— IEEE Std 802.11y™-2008: 3650–3700 MHz Operation in USA
— IEEE Std 802.11w™-2009: Protected Management Frames
— IEEE Std 802.11n™-2009: Enhancements for Higher Throughput
— IEEE Std 802.11p™-2010: Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments
— IEEE Std 802.11z™-2010: Extensions to Direct-Link Setup (DLS)
— IEEE Std 802.11v™-2011: Wireless Network Management
— IEEE Std 802.11u™-2011: Interworking with External Networks
— IEEE Std 802.11s™-2011: Mesh Networking

IEEE Std 802.11™-2016: This revision is based on IEEE Std 802.11-2012, into which the following amendments have been incorporated:
— IEEE Std 802.11ae™-2012: Prioritization of Management Frames
— IEEE Std 802.11aa™-2012: MAC Enhancements for Robust Audio Video Streaming
— IEEE Std 802.11ad™-2012: Enhancements for Very High Throughput in the 60 GHz Band
— IEEE Std 802.11ac™-2013: Enhancements for Very High Throughput for Operation in Bands below 6 GHz
— IEEE Std 802.11af™-2013: Television White Spaces (TVWS) Operation

Sources:

IEEE Std 802.11™-2016
CWNA® Certified Wireless Network Administrator Official Study Guide Fourth Edition
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11

Alcatel-Lucent 8068 Deskphone User Guide on OXO

OxO – Alcatel-Lucent 8068 Deskphone User Guide –

A video user guide of features and abilities of the Alcatel-Lucent 8068 deskphone deployed on the OXO system.

VoIP capable, Other Features include:

  • 240 x 320 pixel 1/4 VGA, 16.7 M coloros with back light.
  • Up to 40 soft keys (multiple screens).
  • Alphabetical keyboard
  • Bi-directional navigation key for simplified feature access and scrolling
  • Full duplex speakerphone with acoustic echo cancellation
  • Comfort headset
  • Optional Bluetooth Headset
  • Two 10/100/1000 layer 2 ports
  • SIP standalone option
  • Headset connector
  • Multiple language support
  • IEEE 802.3af Power over Ethernet or optional external power supply

Alcatel-Lucent 8028/8029 Deskphone User Guide on OXO

OxO – Alcatel-Lucent 8028/8029 Deskphone User Guide –

A video user guide of features and abilities of the Alcatel-Lucent 8028/8029 Deskphone deployed on the OXO system.

8028 Features include:

  • offers rich VoIP communications
  • outstanding wide-band audio quality
  • 64×128 pixel black and white display with back light.
  • Up to 68 soft keys (multiple screens)
  • Alphabetical keyboard
  • Bi-directional navigation key for simplified feature access and scrolling
  • Full duplex speakerphone with acoustic echo cancellation
  • Comfort headset
  • Two 10/100/1000 layer 2 ports
  • SIP standalone option
  • Headset connector
  • Multiple language support
  • IEEE 802.3af Power over Ethernet or optional external power supply

8029 Features include:

  • 64 x 128 pixel display with back light
  • rich digital communications
  • outstanding wide-band audio quality
  • 6 soft keys (multiple screens)
  • Alphabetical keyboard
  • Bi-directional navigation key for simplified feature access and scrolling
  • Full duplex speakerphone with acoustic echo cancellation
  • Comfort handset
  • Headset connector
  • Multiple language support

New York City Subway Offers Free Wi-Fi from Transit Wireless

New York City Subway riders benefit from free internet, thanks to Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6855 Hardened LAN Switch, operated by Transit Wireless. Contact us ti find out what the OmniSwitch 6855 Hardened LAN Switch can do for you.

CES 2018 Is Where You’ll Start Caring About 5G

Excerpted From CNet

At this year’s CES you’ll hear plenty of talk about driverless cars, connected homes and the internet of things. (Yes, we promise IoT, perhaps the buzziest of tech trends, is more than just hackable baby monitors and $400 internet-connected juicers.)

Here’s the technology that will drive all of those innovations over the next decade: 5G.

The shorthand tag “5G” stands for fifth-generation wireless technology. Those broadbandlike wireless speeds you’re getting on your phone now? That’s 4G technology. So just think about what happens next.

If you’re excited about the prospects, you aren’t alone. Tech observers see 5G as the foundation for a host of other trends. At last year’s CES, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf described 5G as the biggest thing since the introduction of electricity.

Remember, a lot of work needs to be done for 5G to achieve broad scale. But with networks set to go live by 2019 and coverage reaching 20 percent of the population by 2023, now’s the time to start caring about it.

The lowdown on 5G

The brave new world of 5G isn’t just about speed. Sure, you can look forward to ridiculously high download speeds and bufferless 4K streaming. The real advantages, however, come down to three other things:

  1. Reliability: 5G doesn’t just deliver peak speeds in ideal conditions. The technology offers superhigh speeds that are reliable and consistent, even indoors or in congested areas.
  2. Bandwidth: 5G can support a massive increase in connected devices. Ericsson forecasts 1 billion 5G subscriptions by 2023. Think sensors on everything.
  3. Latency: Phones today have an annoying lag between when you send a request for a website or video and when the network responds. With 5G, that’ll be reduced to 1 millisecond. That’s 400 times faster than the blink of an eye. It’s so fast, some companies see it opening up the possibility of remote surgery.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is devoting his preshow keynote presentation to the data-driven future that 5G enables. Nokia and Ericsson will be on stage touting the new network technology. Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, has already been hitting the media circuit to talk up the tech.

Benefits Of 5G Wireless

While 5G remains an imprecise term today, key objectives for the development of the advances required have become clear. These are as follows:

  • Enhanced throughput – As is the case with Wi-Fi, major advances in cellular are first and foremost defined by new upper-bound throughput numbers. The magic number here for 5G is in fact a floor of 1 Gbps, with numbers as high as 10 Gbps mentioned by some. However, and again as is the case with Wi-Fi, it’s important to think more in terms of overall individual-cell and system-wide capacity. We believe, then, that per-user throughput of 50 Mbps is a more reasonable – but clearly still remarkable – working assumption, with up to 300 Mbps peak throughput realized in some deployments over the next five years. The possibility of reaching higher throughput than that exceeds our planning horizon, but such is, well, possible.
  • Reduced latency – Perhaps even more important than throughput, though, is a reduction in the round-trip time for each packet. Reducing latency is important for voice, which will most certainly be all-IP in 5G implementations, video, and, again, in improving overall capacity. The over-the-air latency goal for 5G is less than 10ms, with 1ms possible in some defined classes of service.
  • Advances in management and OSS – Operators are always seeking to reduce overhead and operating expense, so enhancements to both system management and operational support systems (OSS) yielding improvements in reliability, availability, serviceability, resilience, consistency, analytics capabilities, and operational efficiency, are all expected. The benefits of these will, in most cases, however, be transparent to end-users.
  • Increased mobility – Very-high-speed user mobility, to as much as hundreds of kilometers per hour, will be supported, thus serving users on all modes of transportation. Regulatory and situation-dependent restrictions – most notably, on aircraft – however, will still apply.
  • Improved security – As security remains the one aspect of IT where no one is ever done, enhancements to encryption, authentication, and privacy are expected. It would not be surprising to see identity management (IDM) solutions along the lines of those now at work in many organizations available from at least a few carriers. Current IDM suppliers as well might be more than mildly interested in extending their capabilities to 5G services purchased by enterprises.
  • New spectrum – It is expected that frequencies in the so-called millimeter-wave bands above 30GHz will see service in at least some 5G deployments. Both licensed and unlicensed spectrum at these frequencies is available in many parts of the world. MM wave frequencies are often appropriate to small cells since they require smaller and less obtrusive antennas, and the inherent signal directionality can multiply spectral efficiency. The core disadvantages for MM waves are less applicability to traditional larger cells along with poor object (e.g., buildings) penetration, but such can again be advantages in terms of frequency reuse. Regardless, more spectrum is required given the throughput and capacity objectives that justify 5G development and deployment – present spectral allocations will most certainly not suffice even with the ability to aggregate smaller blocks of spectrum.
  • New enabling technologies – We expect to see higher-order MIMO implementations, sometimes described as “massive” with, for example, 16-64 streams, more aggressive modulation and channel coding, improved power-utilization efficiency, and related advances. Small cells will see frequent application, and the days of large cell towers may be numbered in more densely populated areas. Current trends otherwise at work in networks today, include SDN and NFV, will also see application in 5G, with much infrastructure implemented within cloud-based services. 5G will likely require no major advances in chip or manufacturing technologies, and device power consumption will likely benefit from more limited geographic range even as higher clock rates take a small toll here. Still, much work remains in terms of both technical and feasibility analysis as well as cost, but we see no showstoppers on the horizon. There is no danger of producing another WiMAX that offers marketing hype with no clear advantages over the previous generation, and the overall level of technical risk is low. Perhaps the greatest challenge is schedule slip, as the complex nature of the systems engineering that is required needs more time than many expect.
  • Universal application support – 5G as a wireline replacement will have to support every class of traffic and every conceivable device, from broadcast-quality video distribution to telemetry, implantable medical devices, augmented and virtual reality, and advanced interactivity and graphics – and not just for gaming. The list also includes connected and autonomous cars, remotely-piloted vehicles (drones), public safety, building and municipal automation/monitoring/control, and disaster relief. including relocatable infrastructure with moving cells and support for dynamic wireless meshing. Also in the mix are robotics and IoT devices tolerant of limited data throughput and highly-variable latency. We expect literally tens of billions of 5G devices to be deployed over the next decade or so, so the scale of both the challenge and the demand is clear.
  • Industry growth – Finally, carriers, operators, and equipment vendors of both infrastructure and subscriber devices simply require the deployment of new technologies with quantifiable end-user-visible benefits from time to time in order to continue to grow their businesses. New subscriber units alone cannot accomplish this goal.

In short, 5G is a business opportunity being designed and implemented to provide all of the communication capabilities and performance we expect from a wireline network. Getting to that point, given all of the requirements above, won’t be easy, quick, or inexpensive.

Enabling the Elastic Edge of Today’s Connected Enterprise

The Elastic Edge of today’s Connected Enterprise requires the wide-area network (WAN) to be more reliable, agile, scalable, automated and secure than ever. Cradlepoint’s software-defined network solutions enable the next-generation WAN for the Connected Enterprise.

Ramp up business communications for the digital era

Connected devices and the internet of things (IoT) – video, interactive screen, multimedia sharing, chat and bot interactions – are really what you need for the digital workplace.

  • Make communicating with your teams and your business contacts as simple as 1-2-3. Interact instantly.
  • Make the leap into the digital era and choose RainbowTM, the app for borderless, mobile collaboration that is fully integrated with your business phones.