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IT infrastructure
and 5G: how to
prepare for 5G

Author: Adam Kimmel

As 5G rolls out in more cities, leaders are anticipating the next-generation network's most exciting capabilities—namely high bandwidth, ultra-low latency and ability to support a far greater density of connected devices. 5G can help businesses get proactive about predictive maintenance and address mechanical failures before they happen. The network will transform the way we work, and it will change the expectations around the quantity and quality of organizational data.

But before you can leverage the power of 5G, your IT infrastructure must be prepared to harness it. By ensuring that your network is properly prepared and resourced, you'll position your organization to reap the full benefits of 5G and stay ahead of the competition.

What a 5G-ready IT infrastructure needs

To harness the full potential of a 5G network, your devices and applications need to process the same data volumes that 5G can.

Given the competing needs for 5G's functionality, it might be worth developing parallel networks for unrelated applications. For example, 5G can help medical applications deliver near-real time monitoring to improve patient care. The infrastructure performance to achieve this result might be substantially different from an entertainment or information application. Creating application-specific network paths could help manage the cost of infrastructure enhancement.

Another option to upgrade IT infrastructure to deploy 5G is to combine similar network functions before splitting off usage-driven ones. Multi-layer optimization leverages capital expenditures where possible while maintaining the as-needed performance dictated by applications.

You'll also need complex control algorithms and skilled management to ensure the network maintains proper redundancy and backup capability.

How to prepare for 5G

Your IT infrastructure needs to be 5G-ready, but your business must also be prepared to adjust to the network's capabilities. There are some important items you want to check off your list as you consider how to prepare for 5G.

Increase IT infrastructure budget and staff

Infrastructure investments do not come free.

When getting your IT infrastructure 5G-ready, it might help to conduct make-or-buy evaluations. Capital-friendly solutions are often complex and usually require specialized support staff. You will need quality resources—and a lot of them—and your IT infrastructure budget will need to increase to accommodate them.

Once you have identified the equipment that needs upgrading, you will have a ready-made shopping list to give to procurement. But if you have just identified your needs, you might not yet have budgeted for them, so you will need to roll up the capital and labor cost to install them.

And be sure to identify a control strategy in your budget to minimize spending without compromising performance and redundancy.

Prepare your business operations

The critical areas of your business must be prepared to manage and leverage the changes 5G will bring.

  • Security. 5G will eventually support more connected devices than 4G can—but the proliferation of data, endpoints and applications also opens new entry points for attackers. A cloud security strategy with threat monitoring solutions powered by artificial intelligence can secure your endpoints.
  • Business communications. The bandwidth and speed provided by 5G will transform unified communications and collaboration. But businesses must have the right platforms, tools, processes and protocols to get the most use out of that bandwidth and speed.
  • Customer experience. 5G will enable new capabilities, such as edge computing, that can support personalized, near real-time interactions by moving data processing closer to the edge of the network.

Find a managed services partner

If building infrastructure solutions is not right for your organization, a managed services partner can help you with how to prepare for 5G. Bringing on a partner to develop and implement a turnkey IT infrastructure upgrade can give you some peace of mind. You get best-in-class technology, consultant-level industry expertise and troubleshooting help. And the cost is short-term, not an ongoing resource addition.

Upgrading your IT infrastructure is a critical first step in positioning your company to realize the full power of 5G.

Learn how Verizon's managed network services can help your organization get ready for 5G.