The 5G ecosystem remains in a pressure cooker. There is pressure on standards bodies and their constituencies, including vendors, operators, enterprises and governments, to rush forward with technology development and hurry infrastructure into the field. There is also pressure on these same stakeholders to figure out how to not only get that gear into the field at scale but how to monetize this new infrastructure.
Though the 5G bandwagon has remained cohesive thus far, increasing technological complexity could become a major impediment to realizing the promise and potential of 5G. Additionally, increased influence by enterprises and governments is adding more complexity to the fold.
It will likely take another year for the dust to settle on the specifications for 5G NR and the 5G core, two foundational technologies for 5G networks. A key takeaway from the 5G Summit is that, despite complexity challenges, incremental progress continues to be made in the development of 5G, and the 3GPP’s Release 16 remains on track to be completed by the end of this year, fulfilling the initial promise of 5G by providing a fully stand-alone system. Release 16 will also address some of the feature limitations in the Release 15 specifications.
The sixth annual 5G Summit, which was hosted by Nokia and New York University Tandon School of Engineering in Brooklyn, provided an overview of what happened in the 5G ecosystem over the past 12 months and delivered a forward-looking view into where companies and academia think the ecosystem is headed, even out to 6G.