Massive support for IoT, as well as coexistence between LTE and 5G, are key points

5G is synonymous with speed, but there’s more to the next generation of mobile networks than that. Massive support for the internet of things (IoT) and mission critical communications are part of it, but, for operators, the real value is in lowering the cost per bit transmitted, as well as providing a fiber-like experience without the expense and time of deploying fiber.

In a recent Q&A between Cradlepoint CEO George Mulhern and Doug Gilstrap, former Ericsson CSO and currently a partner at TCV Venture, Mulhern highlighted the benefit to operators of rapid 5G commercialization.

“We see 5G offering significant cost savings to operators and end users,” he said. “Our customers with many sites, branch locations and IoT needs (buses, police cars etc.), can expect better performance with advances towards 5G. This means no lead time to connect and wait for broadband digs, so any new high-speed broadband connectivity can be met instantly.”

Right now, operators around the world are testing various aspects of pre-standard 5G infrastructure, use cases and business cases, while also laying the groundwork for 5G with gigabit LTE deployments, which enhance capacity and network efficiency through the use of 4×4 MIMO, 256 QAM and multi-channel carrier aggregation, including aggregation of licensed and unlicensed frequencies. But 5G won’t be like flipping a light switch; rather it will be a gradual deployment that co-exists with advanced LTE networks to provide a relatively seamless user experience.

Mulhern commented: “We’ll start to see some limited early deployments in 2018, and it’ll grow from there—but it’s not going to completely displace 4G.  In fact, some of the early deployments will be based on the LTE core—so they’ll coexist. That’s going to be important for customers because they’re looking for a transition.”

Hitting on logistics- and transportation-related use cases, he said, “The new 4G/5G data plan charges plus our hardware and software solution makes the implementation, the monitoring, and the usage tracking affordable. And the productivity gains will be impactful. This technology will be price competitive and offer a variety of physical and logical diversity for all our clients. We’re seeing the operators charging hard into the mobile enterprise space as the next wave of market opportunity, and we are here, hand in hand with our solutions to help make it happen.”

Other topics covered in the interview include the role of new spectrum (CBRS and millimeter wave frequencies), as well as how enterprise stakeholders should approach 5G. Cradlepoint provides a wide-range of networking solutions covering the edge, LTE, 5G, SD-WAN and cloud among others; TCV Venture, based in Palo Alto, Calif., supports growing companies with leadership and data-driven insights.

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