Roger Johansen is a chief network architect at Telenor Nordic, which is a Norwegian multinational telecommunications company. DNA has been part of Telenor since 2019, connecting Finland closer to its Nordic neighbors and the rest of the world. As 5G networks are expanding and evolving heavily, we asked Johansen to give us a deeper look at how Nordic countries are doing in this field.
In a tight nutshell: 5G is the fifth-generation technology standard for cellular networks. Its primary function is to provide faster communication services and more secure and reliable connections, with higher capacity. According to Roger Johansen, Nordics are doing pretty well compared to the rest of the world, due to our solid 4G networks, skilled workforce, and digitalized societies.
“The challenge of 5G here in the Nordics is posed by high-cost levels, large geography, and low population. It is expensive and time-consuming to upgrade the networks. Also, the transition from 4G to 5G can be less understandable for consumers and industry than the earlier transition from 3G to 4G”, Johansen explains.
5G allows more high-availability implementations
While moving from 3G to 4G the difference was palpable: the latter was 500 times faster than 3G. The difference in efficiency made the reason for the upgrade perfectly clear for everyone. So, if 4G enabled the smartphone revolution, what does 5G have to offer?
5G brings to the table the so-called critical and high-availability implementations. The extremely short response times and low latency of 5G enable, for example, private networks for factories and different cloud gaming and VR-related possibilities for consumers.
“Initially the network will hold up higher capacity and improved performance for consumers. Further, it’ll also play a major role in the digitalization and automatization of enterprises. As we have high-cost levels in the Nordic countries, enterprises need to focus on automation to slim down costs and achieve higher efficiency, 5G could be a part of the answer to this”, Johansen says.
Standalone vs. non-standalone
Rolling out 5G in the Nordics has been relatively painless due to our basis in very good 4G networks, although it is still costly to roll out a 5G network. The first stage of the 5G network is overlaid on an existing 4G network core, and this is called non-standalone 5G. But the aim is to have an independent operation of a 5G service, the standalone 5G. The independent service will offer great benefits for connectivity options: access to faster, more reliable, and more secure wireless connectivity than ever before.
“The 5G standard itself improves the data security of mobile technology compared to previous generations. The security discussion around 5G is strongly related to the possible future use of the technology in even more critical applications, and one of the key points is that operators should avoid a situation where they are too dependent on a single equipment supplier. And as 5G will bring up new types of use cases, security will also be needed to upgrade to the next level.”
DNA's 5G network technology is based on a cloud platform on which critical software-based central system services operate. This makes it possible to make quick changes in the network. The virtualized network can also be sliced so that a certain connection point can be guaranteed the desired bandwidth, i.e., the minimum speed of data transfer, or to isolate a virtual network for a particular customer uses, for example.
“5G is aimed at being a multi-purpose connectivity platform that can be tailored to multiple use cases and customers simultaneously and will be beneficial for existing and new customers, and I believe also for society as a whole. We will use network slicing to enable this and other important technological advances such as edge computing and private 5G networks. Private networks are closed mobile networks used by a company or community. Edge compute complements the 5G networks as it enables local computation of data or applications hosting, thus reducing latency and improving security and robustness”, summarizes Johansen.
Read how DNA and Edzcom partnered up to build private mobile networks for enterprise customers!