Thursday, 21 June 2018 15:27

Will people pay for 5G?

By
Juniper Networks executive vice-president and CTO Bikash Koley Juniper Networks executive vice-president and CTO Bikash Koley

"The economies of 5G are not fully understood," according to Juniper Networks executive vice-president and chief technology officer, Bikash Koley.

Koley thinks customers might pay a little more for 5G services than they do for 4G, but that means rolling out a whole new 5G network doesn't make financial sense.

The reason why Juniper is interested in 5G is that while the company partners with others that can supply the radio part of a 5G system, all the data travels in packets so the rest of the infrastructure is essentially the same as that used for fixed line broadband.

Consequently, the networks supporting wireless and fixed line services are converging.

Koley gave the example of US telco Verizon, which is using Juniper's node slicing technology (which allows one physical router to be used as multiple virtual routers) to consolidate its edge networks.

To support 5G services carriers need highly efficient, cost effective metro networks with fat pipes, Koley told iTWire, and Juniper has experience with such networks.

Juniper sells some of the first routers and firewalls to support 5G networks, he observed.

For carriers, the challenge is to roll out 5G networks without a step increase in expenditure, he said, with the implication that Juniper's range of products could help them achieve that.

Although much of the interest around 5G is in the context of mobile and residential (fixed-line broadband bypass). Koley predicts the initial take-up will be in the business market, where any concerns about security can be addressed by the CPE (customer premises equipment).

Consumer-oriented services will rely on secure tunnels (eg, IPsec), so carriers will need to use hardware with capabilities such as line-rate encryption.

IoT is another area where 5G is expected to have a significant impact, but Koley warned that restrictions on sensors (such as very low power consumption) mean they won't be able to implement all the security features that may be required, so they will rely on routers that can, in order to fill that gap.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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