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What Makes 5G So Special?

James Ebeler, DoD CTO and Jim Smid, CTO, Iron Bow Technologies

March 23, 2021  |  IT Modernization  •  Networking

There’s more to 5G than just service for your smart phone. A lot more. 5G ushers in a new era of technology and innovation that has never been seen before and with it comes a plethora of applications and benefits.  Here are just some of the benefits consumers, businesses and our government can realize from the technological advances 5G brings to the table.

Technological benefits

Intuitively, 5G comes with increased capabilities compared to prior generations. The main technology transformation domains are software defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization, OSS transformation, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), and multi-access edge computing (MEC). Within these channels, 5G will converge smart networks, foster new network and service capabilities, provide business models based on shared resources, realize better sustainability and scalability, and provide an open ecosystem for innovation.

Within wireless technology, 5G licensed spectrum will see wide-area broad market delivery through MNOs (mostly outdoors) and 5G shared spectrum will be adopted by private and public sector entities with need for industrial automation and mobile workforce (mostly short distance outdoors and in buildings) and finally, Wi-Fi6 unlicensed spectrum, which is similar to 5G, will see real-time delivery and empower industrial use cases with lower cost of ownership and faster access to technology (for indoor and outdoor deployments).

For the average consumer, 5G will enhance performance and capabilities in the areas of smart home/buildings, ability to leverage the cloud, 3D videos and enhanced voice capabilities. Consumers will be able to transfer gigabytes of data in seconds, explore augmented reality (AR), experience the development of self-driving cars and a new approach to healthcare and public safety. All these together will give rise to the first “smart city.”

Business benefits

5G networks will drive future business in several areas:

  • Quality of Experience – for humans and machines. This can take the form of machine learning and artificial intelligence creating and optimizing a user experience for any applicable business purpose like automating service desk calls or creating a streamlined telehealth experience.
  • Industrial Wireless Adoption – empowering the fourth industrial revolution in the next five years because of rapid change in market consumption. It’s difficult to imagine the change that is rapidly approaching and how 5G will remove road blocks that have bottlenecked business operations on a daily basis.
    • Fixed Wireless Access – Wireless last mile delivery models for agility and market expansion.
    • New Delivery Models – 5G will have public, private, or hybrid delivery systems to grant flexibility to suit business purpose.

Federal and Department of Defense (DoD) Benefits

While 5G brings the above benefits to the private and public sector, there are also huge benefits for our Defense agencies to realize, as well. Communications networks have become fundamental to how the United States wages war, providing our forces with real-time data to make decisions, get those decisions to warfighters allowing for decisive victory. 5G, given its reduced latency, increased speed and data mobilization, will benefit the DoD’s operational effectiveness by allowing rapid access to data and advanced analytics, support edge computing, ensure data security with zero-trust framework, and introduce mixed reality (MR) assisted maintenance and training to the programs.

DoD’s central challenge is to accelerate development and deployment of 5G-enabled capabilities; ensuring systems are robust, protected, resilient, and reliable, supporting Agile Combat Employment and Flightline of the Future. 5G will accelerate adoption of next generation combat training and simulation. Its scalable architecture can support deployed combat centers, provide a virtualized operations floor, enhance the logistics mission, and enable Internet of Things (IoT). DoD can also apply 5G capabilities to things like artificial intelligence/machine learning and robust inclusion of big data analytics to aide mission accomplishment. All of these capabilities brought on by 5G will give our military the cutting edge in leading defense efforts for the nation.

Iron Bow’s capabilities

5G is expected to provide high data rates, reduced latency, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity to bring to bear the full promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), smart warehousing and bases. Iron Bow Technologies is positioned to fully enable ongoing commercial and DoD efforts to leverage and expand 5G capabilities by providing integrated networks that include edge compute and data processing.

Our focus is to provide subject matter expertise and 5G solutions.  In particular, we bring our Next Generation Network (NGN) coupled with our well established vendor partnerships.  In addition, we have a Prime position on the National Spectrum Consortium (NSC) and Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) OTA vehicles. We operationalize a rare combination of program management, architect, engineering, operational and technical integration skills to partner with organizations to enable 5G and foster a future of higher productivity, security and mission accomplishment.


For more information on 5G for the DoD, check out our blog. To learn about next generation networking, visit our website.

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