5G represents a shift from consumer technologies to industrial technologies as it promises to lead to the development of a highly automated and intelligent environment which would revolutionise many industries including automotive, transportation, supply chain, manufacturing, energy and utility services, retail, fintech, e-commerce, agriculture, health, education etc.
It is also clear that 5G networks must be able to provide diversified services, support accesses of multiple standards and coordinates multi-connectivity technologies.
For this to happen, the radio layer is being densified with small cells and in some instances, with technologies of different air interfaces, thus leading to the development of a Heterogeneous Network. All forms of cooperative schemes among radio nodes are been developed to meet the increased demand for bandwidth, at the physical layer.
Besides, a new radio air interface, the 5G NR, has been designed to work within different bands, operate with the various air interface technologies and maximise signal reception using various spatial multiplexing gain techniques.
The core has also been re-designed and evolved towards a service based architectural network. It has been designed such that it is able to respond dynamically and seamlessly to the wide varying needs of the 5G network on the fly. This has thus triggered the development of new business models e.g. Network as a Service, Mobile Virtual Network Operators Slicing etc. and other market opportunities which would no doubt justify the investment in 5G.
This has also facillated virtualization and softwarization within the network and led to the separation of the control plane from the use plane and facillated the use of techniques like slicing, NFV, SDN, MEC etc. to meet the low latency and other requirements of 5G use cases.
Virtualization is also been expanded to the radio interface and equally serving as a means to foster the co-existence of terrestrial and satellites technologies for use within a 5G network
As highlighted in one of the preceding chapters, the heterogeneous nature of 5G networks imply that the spectrum needed for 5G services would be realized in different bands. As such, spectrum harmonization will be of vital importance, if the world is to witness a successful deployment of 5G networks.
There are however risks and issues that need to be addressed before a successful deployment of 5G networks occur worldwide. For example, the different technologies required for the varied requirements must work seamlessly within the 5G network. How do you respect privacy and security concerns during the provision and delivery of slices to various verticals within the same network? How do you prevent IoT devices from being used for spying or eavesdropping on individuals, homes or corporations? Usually regulation plays catch up with technological development, therefore it is important that these risks and ethical questions are given some serious thoughts before deployment.
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