What future for very high-speed mobile connectivity? – The Computer World

The last 18 months have shown that the speed and reliability of connectivity have become essential aspects in our modern societies and customer expectations in terms of availability are becoming more pressing. The deployment and power of 5G is accelerating the digital transformation of many sectors, but the future is already being written.

The present and future of communications are dominated by three broad themes: network modernization, new use cases and business models, and the evolution to 6G. When it comes to modernization, new networks are software-based, so much so that it’s common to hear that apart from the antenna, everything is software. This joke reflects reality rather well. To meet consumer demands for connectivity, bandwidth, and latency, the network must deliver unprecedented scale at lower cost. Solutions include virtualization and self-management.

New use cases and business models mean new revenue. For mobile network operators, consumer wireless still accounts for more than 70% of annual revenue. New opportunities in vertical markets and industrial applications will bring further growth. Finally, as the global rollout of 5G continues, research into 6G is accelerating. The goal is to make the evolutionary and disruptive changes needed to enable a vision of widespread connectivity.

Based on this assessment, what is the way forward for 2026 and 2031, dates closer to us than we think?

2026: it’s already tomorrow!

Expectations continue to evolve as more users, devices, and use cases demand the highest quality of service (QoS). These expectations are for reliable, ubiquitous, and seamless connectivity, and 5G will deliver that, likely reaching 60% of the world’s population by 2026. Ericsson predicts that the number of 5G subscriptions exceeds 3 billion, and some projections indicate that by then 5G networks will carry more than 50% of total mobile data traffic.

These forecasts are based, in part, on an expanding range of possibilities: mobile cloud gaming, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41%, new industrial use cases, which could represent a $1 trillion market by 2028, connected transportation, which is crucial for autonomous vehicles. But also non-terrestrial networks based in part on constellations of satellites in low Earth orbit, not to mention the fact that of the six billion cellular IoT connections, half would be critical connected objects. While growth may come from the next killer app, significant opportunities are likely to come from areas such as new services for retail and industrial applications, including private networks. There could also be opportunities to create lucrative new markets that no one has yet imagined.

2031: the advent of the Internet of Everything

In 2031, the first 6G networks will be in full expansion: the convergence of the physical, digital and human worlds through applications, computing and communications. Some have called this new level of interaction the Internet of Everything (Internet of Everything).

One of its key features will be the seamless coexistence and integration of heterogeneous wireless access technologies, far beyond what is possible today. 6G use cases will also drive the need for higher data rates. This involves using the spectrum above 100 GHz with multi-gigahertz bandwidths, while making even greater use of the bands below 100 GHz. Spectral efficiency, power efficiency and waveform design will play a crucial role.

Network management by artificial intelligence will allow flexibility, and time engineering will be necessary to facilitate new concrete cases. 5G’s low latency benchmarks will be complemented by temporal predictability, in which the absolute time of data arrival (not too early, not too late) will be accurate. This requires exceptional capabilities in time synchronization and routing control.

Faced with such drastic changes in the interactions between humans, machines and the connected world, trust and security must be built in from the start. The consequences of hacks and attacks are already serious. 6G will therefore have to achieve high levels of sophistication in the detection and neutralization of threats, while improving the prevention of threats and the resilience of organizations.

Show the way to “Openness”

Coming back to the present, the path to 2026 and 2031 begins with a fundamental change that is currently underway: the advent of Wireless Access Networks or Open RAN. This approach helps standardize interfaces in a heterogeneous RAN architecture to enable flexible network deployment, and it also promotes a common approach to RAN virtualization. Open RAN has evolved into the concept of Intelligent RAN or RIC Controller, which is a first step towards the inevitable merging of RAN and Core Network.

While this evolution has the advantage of reducing infrastructure costs and allowing flexible expansion for mobile operators, it poses problems of interoperability between network elements from different vendors, whether software or hardware. Another challenge: Open interfaces also increase the surface area for a cyber attack, which requires more and more effective security measures. Industry leaders are working together to address these challenges through an organization called the O-RAN Alliance.

Facilitate needed change

We can see all of this as an opportunity to contribute to change within organizations and the industry. It can be useful to divide this approach into two parallel trains of thought: accelerating new use cases and managing critical risks.

First, articulating a clear purpose can help accelerate the development of new use cases. Moving from vision to action and success starts, as always, with speed of execution. This is all the more important for players looking to differentiate themselves through new business models that will focus technology on areas that will guarantee the most impact.

Second, businesses must constantly manage risk, and new technologies must be developed and validated quickly and with confidence. So whether you’re making semiconductors, networking systems, or user equipment (or other new devices); whether you are a service provider, a supercomputer or an automotive supplier, creating new alliances based on common goals has proven to be another key to success.

Ultimately, the ability to drive change that anticipates and meets future expectations requires research, design, and validation efforts, as well as processes that effectively and continuously assess the user experience where of critical use. From the physics of solid-state devices to advanced radio systems, autonomous and virtualized networking systems, doing it all will require expertise and tools that assess everything from physical and functional behavior to quality of service. .

To the future, and beyond…

When considering the technologies that will shape the future of connectivity, the road ahead seems strewn with pitfalls. That’s why the industry needs technology partners who can help them accelerate innovation and move towards reliable connectivity, new possibilities and a superior user experience.

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What future for very high-speed mobile connectivity? – The Computer World


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