A Sneak Peak Into The 5G-Powered Data Centre Evolution

By NIIT Editorial

Published on 26/11/2020

6 minutes

The immediate by-product of an active 5G infrastructure would be faster internet speeds. LTE networks, currently in use would be no match for such speeds. The point in the case, lab-tested 5G speeds are 10X that of LTE networks. Adding to the excitement of an impending launch is the fact that Tier-1 cities that host operational 5G networks boast speeds of up to 200Mbps to over 1Gbps.

There is more to 5G than the over-popularized notion of speed. In modern society, it would do more than cellular networks ever have for establishing real-time communications and IoT networks. Already, about 50 billion devices are connected to the internet of things. This number would only multiply in the coming years. Their interdependency when it comes to centralizing data transmission between devices can be synchronized with the support of 5G.

Network slicing, a crucial pillar of 5G, will open the door to create thousands of virtual network windows running in parallel on an integrated network. On a technological scale, it is highly rated, 5G will also offer ultra-reliable low latency (URLLC).

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Latency would be low thanks to edge computing via which, local data centres will be established, hammering out long-distance transmission times. You can define latency, as the time it takes for data requests and responses to get from point A to point B in a network. Therefore, the lesser the time data spends in transit, the faster you access information be it textual, audio or video. A gamer would accord to the necessity of low latency networks.

Foremost field trials have raised the bar for expectations from 5G networks. Without a doubt, when fast, reliable, wireless internet reaches millions, entire GDPs will benefit as a whole.  

5G will further refine the roadmap the journey to which was commenced by 3G and 4G. The latter helped ruffle the feathers off Ethernet-enabled internet lines and liberated people to consume data on the go. 5G will be a step ahead. Faster transmission would welcome the prospect of driverless cars, helped optimize freight transportation and more. Robotic process automation will be a key beneficiary of 5G. Education and entertainment will go hand in hand with immersive technologies like AR, and VR.

But none of this would transpire overnight, or even on its own. A generational change in technology warrants a corresponding shift in telecommunications infrastructure. The same hardware/software requirements for 3G & 4G won’t fit the bill. Challenges that stand tall in the face of 5G installations are as follows:

  • Spectrum Availability
  • Selection of cell sites
  • Fibre optic connectivity
  • Radio cell coordination
  • Proximity of cloud data centres

5G millimetre waves can be easily disrupted by buildings and tree foliage. Therefore, site cite inspection is mission critical. Data centres must be localized with respect to the network and optimised to for financial savings. CSPs would have to establish connectivity between such sites with fibre optic cables, transport protocols.

Centralized Radio Access Networks & Edge Computing

We are at the cusp of multi-access edge computing. Future data centres will be close to the vicinity of cell sites. 5G service providers will move even more cell sites to a C-RAN (centralized RAN) architecture. C-RANs are better than D-RANs the following way:

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  • The data centre design for centralized RANs allows baseband units to be pre-installed in addition to the routers and equipment. In a nutshell, this would lead to accelerated 5G deployments and cell densification, saving high infrastructural costs upfront.
  • C-RAN cells enable faster internet speeds that can be sustained over time. In the future, when the opportune time comes to expand the spectrum to say 6G or even 7G, the same infrastructure, as being prepped for 5G, can be used by adding radio capabilities at cell towers.
  • C-RANs are key to realizing the full potential of cloud computing and the cellular network supply chain. 5G will allow CSP stakeholders to monetize the on-demand application business model and create new revenue streams from the hybrid cloud.

The distance between data centres and cell sites has to mitigate if we are to cut down on network latency. Shorter distances translate into faster computing speeds. It is this epiphany that is fuelling the transition towards distributed cloud computing.

Artificial Intelligence & 5G

AI can be brought into the fold to work for end-to-end networks, customized for bespoke applications and projects. By coupling the efficiencies of distributed computing, CSPs will improve network output discovering new revenue generation opportunities. One example of this could be to evaluate historical data records and optimize downtime by auto-adjusting the load-bearing threshold of the network. Essentially, anything that falls under network management services can be further refined to serve route traffic with the least amount of lag by reducing dependency on manual operations and automatically switching network slices in instances of outages.

To conclude, 5G operators with the aforementioned capabilities will advocate end-to-end platform automation driving innovation at an unforeseen pace.

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