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Ericsson Technology Review, Issue 1/2019

Capitalizing on the power of 5G

I find it deeply gratifying to witness the growing enthusiasm among mobile network operators (MNOs) around the globe about the massive growth opportunities that 5G represents for their businesses. In particular, 5G is now widely recognized as a prime enabling technology of the fourth industrial revolution, helping manufacturing companies leverage automation and data exchange technologies that require seamless communication between all the participants and components in industrial processes.

Using 5G effectively in the fully-connected factories of the future is the theme of the feature article in this issue of the magazine. Among other aspects, it explains how 5G can provide deterministic ultrareliable low-latency communication to bring wireless connectivity to demanding industrial equipment, like industrial controllers and actuators.

Emerging industrial use cases in the automotive and manufacturing sectors, among others, are creating a variety of new requirements for networks and clouds. Our distributed cloud article explains how distributed cloud technology exploits key features in both 4G and 5G networks to enable an execution environment that ensures performance, short latency, high reliability and data locality.

Like 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT) is also playing a pivotal role in Industry 4.0, as well as in transforming business and society in a myriad of other ways. In light of this, MNOs need business support systems (BSS) that can handle IoT use cases, which often involve complex business situations, and optimize outcomes with minimal manual intervention. In this magazine we argue in favor of architectural changes to traditional BSS to fully integrate artificial intelligence.

As IoT use cases continue to grow and spread, it is critically important to take action to ensure that the devices are secure, both in terms of communication and data integrity end-to-end, from device to data usage. It is our opinion that certain key technology choices are necessary to achieve the desired device characteristics and create IoT devices that support the multitude of existing and emerging massive IoT use cases.

While 5G is highly relevant for many industrial (and other) applications that reach far beyond traditional telco, it is also designed to address a myriad of challenges within the traditional telco sphere. One example of this is the way it enables MNOs to overcome the challenge of capacity exhaustion caused by the rapidly increasing data consumption of their subscribers. Rather than densifying 4G networks with new sites, we recommend that operators use 5G technology to add new frequency bands at existing 4G sites.

Of course, one of the most critical aspects of a successful 5G deployment is the operator’s ability to support user equipment, radio network, core network and management products that are manufactured by a multitude of device and network equipment vendors. Achieving this can be more difficult than it sounds, however. We propose a smart approach to 5G deployment in this issue that reduces network upgrade cost and time, simplifies interoperability between networks and devices, and enables a faster scaling of the 5G ecosystem.

I hope you will find the articles in this magazine valuable. Please feel free to share them with your colleagues and business associates. You can find all of the articles, along with those published in previous issues, at:

Erik Ekudden
Senior Vice President and Group CTO