The 5G Hot List

As a former network planner, I have to say that I have been skeptical about 5G and IoT having much to do with each other. However, friends I respect have recently been putting caveats on their agreements with me that 5G is not a technology but a buzzword.

Given that Mobile World Congress was a great place to check the reality, I dove deep into IoT and 5G’s relationship. To be clear, when it comes to much of IoT, it’s hard to make the case that mobile will be the de facto standard. However, there are people with real vision that see mobile being able to compete with Ethernet within the enterprise one day.

It’s a bold vision, and when you talk about millimeter and centimeter waves you can lay the ground work.

However, we are not at the point at which this bold vision is dominating the conversation. 5G as a term is a wish list of everything that solves density and ubiquity. Sometimes the technologies bundled into 5G are contradictory; however, the proponents have made some skillful strategies to be inclusive and recognize that these technologies will utilize software defined air interfaces, radio access virtualization, network assisted device cooperation, and cloud RAN. Intel has been particularly focused on Mobile Edge Computing (ISG MEC) and has developed a platform that eases the way for IoT traffic between devices and cloud-based industrial applications. Gateway companies like Affirmed Networks, Cradlepoint, and Encore Networks are designed to support the virtualization of the gateways.

Vasona Networks sells an edge application controller called SmartAIR. It’s a standard-based MEC software layer that runs on NFV infrastructure and supports network and business agility efforts around radio access network transformation.

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