2016 predictions from Cobham Wireless
The research currently underway at initiatives such as the 5GIC at Surrey University is already making a very significant contribution to this and further UK-led developments are likely to be made at various stages during the next year.
Building on the breakthroughs being made in the UK and internationally, we anticipate MWC to be a hotbed of debate around the issue with a range of demonstrations illustrating the exciting future of communications brought about by the introduction of 5G.
The majority of the applications for 5G are still in the concept phase, but they will be coming thick and fast over the next decade. Although we are unlikely to see many ‘finished articles’ next year, thorough testing and validation of new concepts and innovations will begin in earnest.
While conceptually the conversations of 2016 may be centred around 5G, in terms of physical devices the landscape will likely be dominated by the IoT (Internet of Things) and M2M (Machine to Machine) applications showcasing the exciting new telecoms world almost upon us. Central to the success of these innovations – from connected cars to smart fridges – is the thorough validation required to ensure they talk to the network and each other exactly as they should. If first-to-market products suffer from technical difficulties, the public and businesses may be reluctant to embrace future developments with the same vigour.
From a day-to-day operational perspective, one of the most pertinent challenges to be faced by some operators is the switching of some functionality to a virtualised network infrastructure. Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) offers a platform for agile operators to both launch new services for customers and improve margins through reduced OPEX spend.
Following extensive virtualised testing this year, we expect to see operators ahead in the testing cycle potentially begin limited service roll-out in 2016, while those early in the development phase will step up their validation-drive using pooled shared test assets.
The author, Ian Langley is the Vice President and General Manager of Cobham Wireless.