Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 43 | Page 76

FINAL WORD James Bristow, SVP EMEA, Cradlepoint using cloud-based management platforms is the best way to manage diverse networks effectively. By accounting for all the different technologies at play, businesses will reap the rewards of the full spectrum of connectivity. 2. Enable support for the full 5G spectrum As a matter of strategy, network operators are deploying 5G services across multiple spectrum bands, including high band (mmWave), mid-band (sub-6) and low-band (sub-2). While network operators are relying on Edge networking vendors to deploy their services in any band of the spectrum, enterprises with numerous locations need the flexibility to deploy the latest wireless technologies on a by-site basis. By effectively implementing both the low bands of sub-1GHz to the higher bands of mmWave, businesses should be looking to create a bespoke solution for each of their physical locations. In practice, a financial institution may want to transition to a wireless-as-primary connectivity model by deploying a highband 5G service in its larger metropolitan branches and a mid-band 5G service in its suburban branches. In the near term, it may also run a failover application on lowband 4G or 5G in rural locations. As with supporting the full spectrum of connectivity technologies in the first imperative, by effectively deploying and utilising the different bands within 5G, businesses will be able to tailor their services effectively and with agility. 3. From installation to implementation – complete life cycle management Unlike prior generations, 5G involves a collection of new technologies, spectrum and deployment models. It is therefore vital that businesses choose a networking solution that not only offers unparalleled reliability and performance, but also clear visibility and control over its entire life cycle. Network operators have invested heavily in creating reliable, high-performing networks and businesses should ensure that they are not wasting that opportunity by using systems which lack the enterprise-level usability they are looking for. As an example, an IT professional installing a 5G solution (particularly a high-band 5G solution) knows that the positioning of a 5G adaptor during installation will affect signal acquisition and therefore network performance. They understand that the more endpoints under management, the higher the complexity. In addition, they believe that having the right analytical tools is critical to avoiding issues across the network, as well as for troubleshooting further down the line. It is therefore imperative with 5G that businesses seek to take on solutions that support the entire implementation process and its continual use. 4. Carrier-class connectivity Although each operator conforms to certain standards, they implement those standards differently to gain optimal efficiency and performance from their network. Additionally, software from modem manufacturers is designed to serve multiple operators within broad markets. Enterprises depend upon Edge networking vendors to get the most out of operators’ networks. An operator may invent a network technology that accelerates mobile tower connections and requires end-point synchronisation, but if the Edge network vendor does not customise its solution for this feature, the enterprise will experience sub-optimal performance. Businesses must therefore ensure that they are choosing a solution that provides customised softwaredefined modem versions for each network provider’s requirements and capabilities, pre-programmed endpoints and multilevel integrity tests to predict vulnerable connections. By doing this, they will be securing the full connectivity capabilities being offered by every network provider operating within a location. 5. Empowering through hybridity Although many IT pros will view wired and wireless Edge platforms as distinctly different systems, the success of SD- WAN – Software-Defined Networking in a wide-area network – is changing that mindset. With 5G rivalling the fastest wired connections, enterprises are eager to expand their wireless WAN connections. To do this with the best results, businesses must facilitate effortless wireless endpoint management in a wired-first SD-WAN environment as part of a hybrid network. It would be equally beneficial for this deployment to include all-in-one capabilities – routing, embedded wireless and foundational SD-WAN. ‘Wired-first’ WAN solutions have minimal control over potentially thousands of wireless adaptors, while a ‘wirelessfirst’ solution will have robust wireless capabilities but with little or no wired SD- WAN capabilities. By forming a hybrid, enterprises can make use of those wireless devices while also leaning on a wired connection as an inherent part of the network. A graceful pathway to enterprisegrade 5G 5G technology is pressing ahead within the context of an uncertain business world. For organisations looking to reap the benefits of 5G, a structured and considered approach is crucial. By recognising these five imperatives to enterprise-level 5G networks, organisations will not only transition gracefully to the new network paradigm, but will be best positioned to unlock new operational efficiencies and offer new experiences to customers, both of which will be key to sustained growth in the post-COVID-19 world. The rewards of 5G technologies are there for the taking; let’s make sure the opportunity isn’t squandered in the process. • 76 INTELLIGENTCIO