Moving 5G from the lab to commercialization
SAN DIEGO–Next generation 5G mobile networks, which still lack standardization and are a few years from any sort of commercial availability, are currently being demonstrated in real world conditions.
But the trick is moving 5G from these limited trials and controlled test environments into the real world at scale.
In a keynote session at the IEEE Globecom event, Eric Starkloff, vice president of global sales and marketing for National Instruments, discussed the research approach that takes theories and concepts to real world prototypes for 5G systems “faster than ever.”
By way of context: “We’re in the third era of telecommunications and connectivity technology, and it’s really one that’s going to change the nature of wireless communications pretty significantly.”
Wired telephony was the first era and “that was about connecting places,” Starkloff said. The second era was a transition from wired to wireless communications. “What’s important to recognize is it’s not just a transition from wired to wireless but actually a major transition from connecting places to primarily connecting people.”
Now the transition is from connecting people to connecting things.
“What we’re effectively doing, is we are instrumenting the entire world with smart, connected devices. When we instrument or interface with the physical world, that’s actually an infinite source of data. We can now connect those systems more ubiquitously and faster than ever before.”
But it’s not just sprinkling the world with sensors and pushing that data to the cloud, Starkloff said.
“It won’t just be about the phone and other devices used to communicate between people. It’ll be about things and, in particular, industrial things,” like fleets, power sources and grids and more. “All of these different devices are going to be connected together in a system of systems.”
He explained the different needs of an industrial-type application as compared to more consumer facing, communication-based applications. Some M2M connections, the autonomous vehicle for instance, requires high-security, upgradability and ultra low latency.
“These systems need to able to be upgraded over time. Many of these systems have a field lifetime that’s not measured in year, but in decades. But what does this have to do with 5G? This has everything to do with 5G. This is the set of applications that are really driving a lot of innovation.”