What do indoor air sensors, airplanes, smartphones and paper machines have in common? They are all terminal devices that produce and consume data and require various network services, depending on the use and the user. For a human being using a device, a millisecond’s latency does not affect the user experience or productivity. However, when terminal devices with artificial intelligence communicate with each other, a lot can happen in a millisecond. This means that data must pulsate faster between devices than in the human brain.
The constantly developing 4G network will continue to provide consumers with the primary route to the Internet. However, consumers need the features of the 5G network, for instance, in esports gaming requiring extreme speed and in virtual reality solutions allowing us to travel to the other side of the world in a second without going anywhere physically. For businesses, 5G means real-time business and more efficient and competitive products and services. NB-IoT, in turn, will be a technology that connects numerous sensors to the network.
We are thus moving from a single-lane road to a three-lane one, where some of the road-using devices are happy to use the bicycle lane, while others take the fast lane to reach their destination almost at the speed of light. This will alleviate traffic jams, and data will transfer to its destination at an unprecedented speed.
Impacting latency by storing and processing data locally
A certified data center located in Finland brings critical services close to the end user. However, some latency occurs even within Finland when data is transferred from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, for example. The latency can be further reduced by creating a local copy of the data stored in the data center at the edge of the network.
In the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) architecture, processing capacity is taken closer to the site, such as a factory, where the collected and analyzed data is utilized. Communications between machines and devices requiring extreme speed can take place by means of a MEC server, which acts as an intermediate storage place for data and provides high-speed local processing capability. Connecting Mobile Edge Computing with the 5G technology means that we are already approaching the speed of light.
Separate virtual networks for harbours and road traffic
The 5G technology also enables network slicing, where different target groups and terminal devices are allocated their own slices from the network. Slicing makes it possible to provide companies and organizations with virtual networks customized according to their needs. The model is, in fact, similar to the one used with cloud services, where several virtual data centers used by different players are operated from a physical data center.
It is possible, for example, to slice a dedicated nationwide network for the use of the authorities. In the same way, it is also possible for a fully automated harbor or factory, for example, to operate in its own virtual network. Slicing the 5G network is a superior way to build reliable and secure company or organization-specific networks to which no outsiders have access.
The new technology is now waiting for users, and 5G services are already being built. The 5G Finland network gathers together companies and organizations that are building their ecosystems to innovate a society of the 5G era and its services. Are you one of the forerunners who will get a head start to the future?