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Ericsson VP: 'What 5G will bring is even more reliable networks'

Tuesday, October 21st 2014 by Ellen Branagh

The arrival of 5G networks will open up a "whole new world", an Ericsson vice president has said.

Magnus Furustam, head of product area cloud systems at the company, said networks are undergoing "stepwise evolution" heading towards global cloud-based networks.

He said at the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam: "I think a whole new world is opening up.

"This is happening now, the big change has already started, it will be a stepwise evolution."

Speaking to Cable.co.uk at the annual telecoms, media and technology event, he said change had already started and a move towards a network society would need different types of capabilities, including a 5G network.

He said the journey would see a radically simplified network, as well as products being brought to market much quicker, and the provision of cloud services to enterprise.

Mr Furustam told us, "The operators don't only have a functional evolution challenge, at the same time you see IT and Telecom meeting and basically that enables them obviously to build networks in a different way, making them radically simpler, improving time to market, enabling them to address other industries.

"If we simplify a little bit what they do today, it's more or less providing voice and data access to residential, as well as enterprise obviously, but I think this fundamental change makes it possible for them to address other industries.

"What 5G will bring is even more reliable networks, better latency, you will see networks penetrating into areas they previously haven't.

"You will see smaller cells, you will see higher bandwidth, you will see more frequencies being used, you will basically see mobile broadband networks reaching further out, both from a coverage perspective as well as from a device perspective."

Practical applications could include the remote control of excavation machinery in dangerous places, or even remote surgery, Mr Furustam said.

He said, "If you imagine an excavator for instance, you could have small cells sitting on every piece of the arm, some people basically controlling that remotely.

"So if you are to sit at your desk and control a 50-tonne or 60-tonne excavator, you have to have networks that are reliable; latency delay is extremely small; you probably want to have a video as well so you can see how things are moving so you need really high definition on that as well.

He added: "People are doing robot surgery today already but it's just that you are standing very close to the patient.

"Of course you can imagine other industries leveraging this business opportunity, so let's say you go and invest in some company that basically provides remote surgery using these networks, what do they need? They need a good access network, they need a fast network, reliable, low-latency, high bandwidth.

"And then of course you need a distributed cloud, you need an operators' network that enables you first of all to put new applications into that and you also need a very, very controlled network.

"You need a network where you can put small data centres shivered in the network not only in a central position, so to say, maybe you need a small data centre out there close to the hospital etc.

"I think if you really want to do more than what we do today then you need 4G/5G, you need basically what I talked about - one cloud, all workloads, all industries."

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