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5G holds the key to future of integrated smart living

Telecommunications conventionally has been at the centre of how we work and interact. However, on the heels of the 5G revolution, it is set to fundamentally change the way we live, work, play and interact.

5G holds a bold promise for India and the world with an immense potential to disrupt every industry vertical. 5G will be characterized by ultra-high capacity and low latency. It is a natural progression from 4G and India has already witnessed the scale and demand in which we adopted 4G. With 5G promising more than 10X speed of 4G, India is well positioned for an even bigger scale of adoption. Having said that, it is evident that 5G adoption will come with its own set of challenges.

At one end, operators will face an interesting challenge of ROI and at the other end, Industry have to develop use cases that can justify the speed of 5G tech. The estimated amount of investment is about $30-$40 Billion in the next 5 years and it calls for extremely judicious technology architecture and innovation. Cost per bit (in long term) needs to go down for 5G to achieve significant scale. There are multiple approaches to achieve and for now the most dominant strategy regarding 5G architecture is to bring/merge software innovation coupled with hardware speed. In the world of 5G, innovation will become increasingly important as multiple 5G applications will see the light of the day. Such innovation variance will also demand that underlying technology architecture should be agile, on demand, open and constantly evolving. NEC with its open RAN architecture enables all these facets and can be a big disruptive force in current 5G landscape.

While NEC contributed to the first open RAN commercial implementation/deployment, as part of global strategy, NEC also has established a 5G open RAN lab in Chennai. This lab is a strategic investment where-in 5G open RAN systems will be tested end to end before customer roll out. This facility has an impressive resource pool that is well versed with 5G and its corresponding technical landscape.

Here’s why NEC’s Radio Unit portfolio gives a competitive edge to CSPs:

  1. O-RAN Standard Compliant: The world's first commercial deployment for tier-1 operators, complying with industry standards
  2. Compact, lightweight, and low power consumption: Reduces installation and operational cost, increases flexibility for locations and sites to be installed
  3. Full digital beamforming technology: Capacity and number of beams can be dynamically changed per traffic volume and conditions to improve user experience

In the context of 5G, Industry vertical like education, hospitality, healthcare, Industrial automation, smart city, and several others will utilize 5G speed/low latency to bring massive benefits to end consumers. With the arrival of 5G India will stand to witness massive growth as internet speeds multiply manifold.

One of the major gaps that COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated is the need for technology interventions across various industries, primarily healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, and education. There is an urgent need to leverage disruptive technologies to build greater resilience in dealing with crises of such stupendous magnitude and presents an opportunity to the telecom providers to bolster infrastructure in both B2B and B2C sectors. The existing networks are stretched beyond capacity and the potential of smart applications and solutions across sectors can only be tapped with the capabilities of 5G.

From a consumer’s perspective, the 5th generation mobile network means different things to different people, based on their demographic and socio-economic status. For some, it might mean faster movie downloads or playing an online game without any lag or experience AR or VR applications or HD video conferencing with hundreds of colleagues across various geographies. For the ones sitting in remote parts of India, it could mean a near in-person consultation with a doctor or access to the best of teachers from across the country. 5G can achieve all of this as it is designed to increase speed, reduce latency, and improve flexibility of wireless services. 5G technology has a theoretical peak speed of 20 Gbps, while the peak speed of 4G is only 1 Gbps. It also promises lower latency, which can improve the performance of business applications as well as other digital experiences such as AR/VR based medical consultation, online gaming, high definition video conferencing, self-driving cars and much more.

As the world has pivoted towards a new normal, businesses and consumers alike are looking for faster and reliable networks. Thus, for communications service providers (CSPs) to stay ahead of the game, there is an imminent need to future-proof their network to enable services for the ever diversified use cases required in the volatile 5G market. With Open RAN, CSPs will be in an advantageous position to select the best fit Radio Unit (RU) over various vendor options following requirements of each use case such as coverage, frequency band, and size. Relying on its global O-RAN leadership, NEC India brings vertical-specific 5G solutions to the market with its trusted 5G Radio Unit (RU) developed using cutting-edge technologies suited in dense cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and others.

Humanity would not have realized technology's potential forty years ago when the first phone call was made using 1G, then texting became easy with 2G, the promise of the dot com boom came alive with 3G, and the current streaming world thrives on network connectivity. Undoubtedly, in a more virtually inclined world, connectedness is a precious commodity. Therefore, 5G will be a game-changer for cities, the workforce, SME/MSME, education, healthcare, and the overall economy.

With these strengths, NEC India provides a solution to CSPs to navigate the existing challenges in the 5G implementation in the country hence realizing the connectivity dream for Indians. For every Indian, 5G will be no less than a miracle opening the door to plethora of opportunities in a fair and secure society empowering everyone. Unleashing the potential of 5G will change the definition of connectedness and smart living for a layman in the coming years.

By: Sandeep Sudeep
Date: 26th May, 2021