5G, the IoT and SD-WAN: Glancing Ahead at Networking’s Future
After the introduction of smart phones and LTE deployments over a decade ago, it is amazing how far we have come. At the moment, we have developments going on around the world for the introduction of commercial 5G networks and phones. The introduction of 5G is supposed to change the way we look at network infrastructure. There is going to be a significant difference between the 4G and 5G networks and thus the increase in the time for the rollout of the 5G network to the public. The next-generation cellular technologies will not only offer faster speeds, but will also offer significant benefits in the implementation of the SDWAN applications.
The 3GPP announced the first 5G specifications in December 2017 and has defined a wide range of spectrum frequencies including the millimeter-wave portions of the 50GHz band. Accordingly, it sets the stage for faster speeds and new advancements, including:
- Reduction in the latency,
- Overall increased capacity,
- Improved machine-to-machine communications, and
- Potentiality for use in the home and business internet plans.
All of the features mentioned above are like tailor-made enhancements for the Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives, which are already benefitting from the LTE-M and NB-IoT innovations. To overcome the constraints on the bandwidth and power, non-traditional devices have been using IoT specific protocols effectively. However, there are security risks that cannot be overcome through this method. Given that 5G is the first cellular network technology to be developed, keeping IoT in mind, it should lend significant support to the new classes of infrastructure as well as to the SDWAN applications.
Today, the advanced SDWAN can be successfully extended towards many different types of network transport, be it MPLS or commodity internet. The 5G network and the IoT applications are going to be the biggest drivers in the next generation of devices. With features such as automated decision making, liquid bandwidth and integrated security advantages, it is imperative that IoT and 5G will aid an already powerful machine to reach new heights under its influence.
Service providers have been targeting the enterprise market with SDWAN services with the aim to connect branch offices and other fixed locations to the corporate network. The main motivation for this is to enable higher quality real-time applications such as video-conferencing and other high bandwidth unified communications and collaboration applications. 5G networks will play the biggest role in ensuring that these applications can deliver the high-quality services that are expected of them.
It will be a complex task to ensure all of the features and it is likely to span several different types of network transport including 5G, 4G, MPLS and commodity internet connections. Therefore, it is crucial that everything is continually assessed so that the performance required has maximized availability. Another problem for the SDWAN is related to its cost of operation. SDWAN services are not comparable to the leased lines or the VPN capacity in terms of revenue. Hence the cost of operating them must be carefully controlled. 5G being a virtualized environment, the software instrumentation assures the network, providing intelligent visibility to the performance of individual services over the different network types.
With the smart visibility offered to the next-gen devices through IoT, these can be utilized to identify the anomalies in the system, prioritize traffic or ensure additional bandwidth is readily available. With 5G, enterprises which are currently using the SDWAN infrastructure will receive another additional benefit-enhanced and integrated security.
While SDWAN itself has numerous benefits to offer to its users, the virtualization of the 5G networks allows to enhance the flexibility of the SDWAN infrastructure. However, it becomes important to ensure that the virtual network is service-aware and knows exactly what it is supporting. With increased intelligent visibility into the networks, this challenge is effectively addressed. This visibility allows valuable insight that is necessary for the system to make an automated decision that supports a great user experience for the network.