5G, the IoT and SD-WAN: Glancing Ahead at Networking’s Future

Commercial 5G networks and phones are finally on the horizon, almost a decade after the first LTE deployments and smartphones. That's a relatively long time, especially from a device standpoint: Consider that the first iPhone with 4G connectivity was released in 2012, only four years after the iPhone 3G. When 5G compatibility arrives on an Apple handset, the gap will likely have been at least twice as long.

Still, the significant differences between 5G and 4G somewhat justify the wait. For starters, software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) applications and implementations should benefit substantially from the rollout of next-generation cellular technologies, which will offer more than just faster speeds, as Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) has noted.

5G and the New Cogs in the SD-WAN Machine

The 3GPP approved the first 5G specifications in December 2017, defining a broad range of spectrum frequencies including the millimeter-wave portions of the 50 GHz band. That sets the stage for faster speeds and other advancements such as:

  • Reduced latency.
  • Increased capacity.
  • Improved machine-to-machine communications.
  • Potential use in home/business Internet plans.

These 5G features are like tailor-made enhancements for Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives, which are already benefiting from the 3GPP-approved innovations like LTE-M and NB-IoT that we discussed in depth last year. Through IoT-specific protocols, nontraditional devices can overcome constraints on available bandwidth and power, not to mention challenges to their security.

As the first cellular generation designed with the IoT in mind, 5G should lend additional support to new classes of infrastructure, as well as to SD-WAN applications. Today's SD-WANs can be extended over many types of network transport – from MPLS to commodity Internet – and both 5G and the new IoT standards will be essential new cogs in an already powerful machine, providing automated decision-making, liquid bandwidth and integrated security.

The Synergistic Effects of 5G and SD-WAN

For example, remote branch offices (RBO) are much easier to support with SD-WAN solutions. The release of 5G should further streamline RBO strategy by offering superior reliability to real-time apps such as videoconferencing, a key use case highlighted by ESG and something SD-WAN platforms currently deliver, too.

Alongside artificial intelligence and machine learning, SD-WAN will be integral in getting the most value from the unique features of 5G networks. Find out more about your SD-WAN options by clicking the banner below or contacting the Talari Networks team to set up a demo.

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