5G is more than just the next generation of radio technology. 5G is also about access, transport, and cloud. 5G is linked to network virtualization, virtual network functions, automation, management and orchestration. In addition, 5G may incorporate newer technologies such as blockchain to enhance data integrity.
With 5G and the virtualization that it brings, processing can be moved much closer to the user. For example, the driver of a smart car slams on the brakes, and this data is sent across the network. With 4G, the car might go another 4.5 feet before this signal could be processed, due to latency. With 5G, the workload should be processed and signal sent to the care to apply brakes by the time the car has moved a couple of inches.
Another example of 5G’s usefulness: robots working in a factory. We can move the intelligent part of the robot to cloud and thus the actual robot becomes cheaper. With virtualization, they can share resources in the cloud, and with 5G, those resources can be close to the network edge, which is to say, close to the factory. So, while the robots are still ultimately getting their orders from far away, all their time-critical functions are managed from close by, with near-zero latency.
In 5G, agility particularly pertains to the time it takes to create a new service and bring it to market. In the world we’re approaching, an appropriate window for such a task might be a short as 15 minutes.