Predictions 2019: What We Can Expect for 5G This Year

PREDICTIONS 2019: Despite the fact that 5G won't be widespread until later in 2019, networking experts are quite willing to offer their own predictions of exactly how this fact new connectivity will impact consumers, enterprises and investors in the next 12 months.

It only seems as though 5G has been with us for a lot of years. This is because so many IT folks have been talking about it for that long and planning for how to use it once it becomes available on a widespread basis--which should be in 2019 and 2020.

Trouble is, 4G is the best anybody can do right now when it comes to mobile connectivity. And it will be 4G for a while yet, deep into the new year. No worries: Networking experts are quite willing to offer their own predictions of exactly how 5G connectivity will impact consumers, enterprises and investors in the next 12 months.

Here are some predictions collected by eWEEK.

Sally Bament, VP of Service Provider Marketing, Juniper Networks: 
5G will create a new billion-dollar app economy: “The first smartphones and eventually LTE networks paved the way for mobile apps as we know them, giving rise to a multitude of new ways companies interact with customers. 5G is poised to go live in many cities across the United States and globally in 2019, and we expect next year to really showcase the economic power of the new mobile technology. This is the year apps start to show their real value in the enterprise and industrial space with a host of new IoT, AR/VR, digital twins and connected-car applications coming to life.”

Marc Bolick, Senior Vice President, Inside Plant Fiber & Core Fiber Technologies at CommScope:
5G will be crucial to the future of the data center: “While widespread deployment of 5G isn’t happening for at least a few years, data centers in 2019 have to prepare for it. Infrastructure must evolve to support higher wireless bandwidth and more ubiquitous data usage. Companies and building owners are looking beyond just Wi-Fi to enable strong and consistent in-building mobile wireless services with distributed antenna systems (DAS). In the outdoor environment, service providers are upgrading and expanding their fiber networks to carry wireless data back to the core of the network, or in many cases, to edge data centers for situations where local processing is required for low-latency applications like driverless cars or remote surgery. Technology like C-RAN (Cloud Radio Access Networks or Centralized Radio Access Networks) and edge computing will be implemented in 2019 to support 5G wireless services because there will be more data processed at the edges of the network.”

Ernest Sampera, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer at Tampa-based vXchnge:
Corporate America will replace WiFi with 5G: “In 2019, the amount of data being processed on the edge will force more companies to push out their legacy WiFi systems and implement 5G. With so much data being processed, the need is exploding for the reliability and connectivity, additional speed, vastly improved data transfer rates and massive bandwidth afforded by 5G. With 5G in place, we’ll also see more edge-based, localized data centers processing critical data locally and sending selective data to the cloud, so they can lower their latency and increase their speed.”

Stefano Cantarelli of Mavenir:
5G/Network Function Virtualization: “Virtualization is going to explode in 2019–there is no way we will process all the services and benefits of 5G without it. There needs to be a seismic mind shift around mobile economics from now onwards if we, as a telecommunications industry, are going to make 5G a reality. There is no 5G without virtualization.

“It will be the year of the virtual radio and the beginning of the decline for legacy traditional hardware. More specifically, we will witness the RAN market shrinking over time from a $20B market to a $5B market with a 75 percent decrease in revenue by traditional hardware players.”

Jim Poole, Vice President for Global Ecosystem Development at data center and interconnection provider Equinix: 
“We anticipate that our customers will increase their 5G investments significantly in 2019 to repurpose their existing cellular infrastructures and build new edge architectures for hosting 5G networks, which will include cloud radio networks.”

Paul Carter, CEO of Global Wireless Solutions:
The 5G wave is likely to hit ground for consumers in 2019 and even more so in 2020: “All of the industry players are trying hard to make 'first to market' claims for 5G networks. And 5G devices are coming soon in 2019, although we likely won’t see the 5G iPhone until 2020.  However, efforts that impact the customer will really begin this new year as 5G rolls out and starts to pick up momentum. In the U.S., 5G applications will be deployed with limited access in 2019, while in South Korea they’re promising a nationwide rollout. The reality is that it’s not an instantaneous transition, we will have a blended network of 5G, 4G and even 3G, depending upon geography.”

Ian Watterson, 5G expert and Head of Americas and Asia-Pacific at CSG:
The true realization of 5G connectivity: “In 2019, 5G connectivity will become an entity in our society, with more and more providers announcing offerings and IoT products that take advantage of this accelerated connectivity. This coming year consumers will be able to interact with the technology and begin to conceptualize its potential impact on our society.”

Mike McKee, CEO of ObserveIT:
Make sure infrastructures are prepared: “The impending deployment of 5G connectivity as the ability to create a more vulnerable security landscape, particularly as it relates to insider threats. With 5G, both malicious actors and accidental insiders can work faster and export more data in less time. With that, organizations need to take preemptive steps before 5G’s to deployment to make sure their infrastructure is prepared for the new reality of connectivity, speed and data. Refusing to do so will lead to more substantial and costly insider threat incidents in 2019.”

Sascha Giese, Head Geek, SolarWinds:
5G in 2019: Are we there yet? “5G is a huge buzzword as we round the corner toward 2019, with many businesses clamoring for airtime about how their technologies will be even better on a 5G network. Next year is expected to be all about 5G, but there is one element largely absent from the discussion: many companies are claiming 5G-readiness, but without the infrastructure to support it, we’ll be left with the same bandwidth speed as before. …

“While 5G promises one of the biggest leaps in cellular data speeds yet, it will be rolled out in a similar way to previous generations, beginning in major cities and slowly rolling out to national and global coverage. Low frequency will be deployed first, but there will be a time delay, similar to when we all bought phones with LTE capabilities years before the benefits were fully available. In the year ahead, we predict there will be a growing awareness that while 5G innovation exists, the infrastructure will need significant time and investments to catch up.”

Shane MacDougall, Senior Security Engineer at Mosaic451:
More DDOS bang for the buck: “5G DDOS attacks will begin to raise their ugly heads, and depending on the quantity of 5G capable devices that attackers can harvest, we may well see overwhelming attacks that push the limits of our mitigation capabilities.”

Ben Cardwell, SVP of Global Wireless Sales at CommScope:
Enhanced mobile (and fixed wireless) broadband will help make 5G a reality: “Future visions aside, mobile broadband is fundamentally what the wireless industry is all about. Enhanced mobile broadband is about making it even better. In 4G, LTE laid the foundation for exceptional mobile data speeds, and its LTE Advanced-Pro evolution will continue to be the workhorse of the industry, even as 5G emerges. We will continue to see investment in LTE for many years with 4G and 5G co-existing in the future. We will also continue to see more and more new spectrum open up to enable continued mobile broadband growth.

“But 5G will enable service providers to keep up with the intense subscriber demand for more wireless bandwidth by adding capacity to their networks. Technologically, achieving 5G performance requires providers to eliminate network bottlenecks by adding more small cells, more fiber and mobile edge computing to their networks. The industry has been most successful with deploying and utilizing more fiber. Many operators worldwide are committed to a fiber-heavy and fiber-deep future.

“Fixed wireless access has emerged as among the first 5G applications to be deployed. FWA enables wireless carriers to compete for more share in the residential broadband market. 5G speeds are fast enough that FWA can be used for streaming home internet traffic, including over-the-top video. We expect it will take until 2020 or so for widespread deployment of mobile and fixed 5G broadband, with the technologies hitting maturity around 2025.”

From security processor-maker ARM:
Fast video with 5G: “By 2020, 5G will enable people to stream 4K video on-the-go to their smartphones with zero lag, allowing the download of a full HD film in less than a second.”


Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...