5G is a breakthrough in back-up connectivity
Article by Somerville Manager for WAN and ISP Connectivity Services Oshadha Ranaweera.
Australian telecom operators are rapidly accelerating the deployment of their 5G network to achieve greater coverage and reach of the population.
Early adopters are reporting promising results of speeds of more than one gigabit per second on the downlink in some Australian geographies, equivalent to or exceeding peak performance of fixed line services.
This is important because one of the biggest use cases of 5G for businesses is not as the primary connection but for diversity – as a backup connection for failover if the primary line service stationary used by a business breaks down.
Even today, businesses often pay for two corporate fixed Internet services from two different operators, giving them a variety of routes and service providers if one of the services goes down. This ensures that they can bypass issues that would otherwise disrupt their operations.
With the advent of 5G, a new option is available to companies wanting a backup Internet service. Instead of paying for that second landline service, they can instead provide 5G service and reduce traffic through it if needed.
With roots in the residential sector
Cellular failover for a fixed line connection is now a common feature of residential broadband plans. Customers often receive a modem that can support both the primary landline connection and a secondary 4G service if required.
The 4G service is automatically cut off if the fixed service starts to stumble; ideally, the transition is seamless and clients do not notice the transition.
In practice, the switchover is likely to be obvious, however, as a fixed line service and a 4G service offer very different speeds and performance.
4G service is likely to be slower than landline, and users will notice the difference in browsing speeds, especially with more intensive and bandwidth-intensive uses of internet services.
This may be acceptable for a residential user, but is not suitable for the business and enterprise market; thus, most companies have traditionally chosen to operate dual fiber connections as primary and secondary links, as opposed to a combination of fixed and cellular lines.
Why 5G is turning heads
The characteristics of 5G make it better suited to serve as a backup connectivity solution for the enterprise market. 5G offers superior capacity and resilience, especially in metropolitan areas.
The 5G experience is comparable to a fixed service. Customers won’t know when a site will switch from a landline primary connection to a 5G-based secondary connection. There won’t be a noticeable difference in downlink or uplink speeds, as 5G is comparable to landline.
It also offers admirable performance in the building compared to previous generations of cellular technology. Due to higher capacities and better overall technology, 5G is also becoming a popular consideration for SD-WAN deployments.
Organizations are looking for a fast turnkey solution that delivers results similar to traditional MPLS networks. By combining 5G and SD-WAN products, users can achieve fast and reliable connectivity to their corporate network or SD-WAN.
In addition, 5G is also a great choice as a secondary link for SD-WAN for large enterprises to support larger capacity primary links.
More and more today, the cost per megabit of 5G services is attractive. For the same amount that we would previously have paid for a 4G-only service, we can now get 5G.
5G services can also be ordered and provisioned quickly, in minutes instead of the days or weeks it typically takes to get a business fiber connection.
All of this is now being translated into action. A recent research report from Ericsson indicated that an Australian construction company is using 5G for “large site failover, replacing the expensive standby fiber line with 5G, gaining speeds similar to fiber with the diversity of a wireless connection “.
This experience is reflected in our own clientele. In a world of hybrid desktop-remote work models, and where Internet applications are the norm, businesses need resilient connectivity to maintain an always-on, high-performing experience. As a network aggregator, we design fiber and (primarily Telstra) 5G services to give business customers what they are looking for.
A primary objective
While most of the commercial demand for 5G is currently focused on it as a secondary or backup connection, we cannot completely ignore that 5G can also be useful as a primary source of connectivity in certain scenarios.
For example, 5G may be suitable for a remote worker as the primary connectivity option. It might also be attractive for a smaller branch or a temporary location such as a pop-up retail store, where the cost and time to provide a traditional landline service may rule it out as a viable option.
Another possible use case for 5G as the primary network connection is edge computing. While most organizations bring data from the “edge” to a centralized point, in the future more of this processing will occur at the “edge” where data is created, thereby reducing the time to generate. actionable information from this data.
In addition, SD-WAN has become an attractive technological choice for edge computing. For reliable connectivity to centralized workloads, 5G can play an important role in supporting SD-WAN networks as primary or secondary connections.
In summary, 5G services deliver the high throughput needed to ensure that cutting-edge computing environments can quickly ingest data from multiple sources and communicate the results of that analysis. In 2022, it is also attractive because of its applicability around SD-WAN technologies.