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Optimizing 5G ROI for Long-term Sustainability of Enterprise Networks

By Manjunath DK


As hybrid cloud, AI, Gen AI, IoT, and edge computing advance, the need for low-latency data access grows. 5G provides high throughput and low latency crucial for innovative services. A holistic 5G approach enhances network sustainability, drives innovation, and ensures long-term success in a digital world.


By 2025, GSM Association projects 1.2 billion 5G connections worldwide. 5G-Advanced, the next 5G milestone, boosts system foundation with new wireless tech for speed, coverage, mobility, and efficiency. This opens opportunities for enhanced enterprise functionality.


In this article, let’s look at how 5G will be a game changer that strengthens network infrastructure, offering agility, security, and connectivity to tackle future challenges.


The 5G India Story: Threats and Opportunities

India has the swiftest 5G deployment worldwide, with 4 lakh base stations that cover 97 percent of cities and over 80 percent of the population. The announcement of 100 5G labs as a testing ground for innovators, students, and start-ups, shows India’s commitment to building a 5G and even, 6G ready country.


However, for 5G revolution to succeed, several challenges must be overcome. Cybersecurity vulnerability must be addressed, as complex network connections increase ransomware or malware attack risks. 5G networks will generate more data volume, making data security and privacy a crucial concern.  It is also likely to widen the existing digital divide. Lastly, stakeholders will find it challenging to handle the regulatory complexities.


Despite challenges, the evolution of 5G networks brings exciting trends like edge computing, network slicing, IoT, AI, and cloud services. Edge computing reduces latencies and enhances efficiencies for real-time applications like remote surgery and self-driven vehicles. Network slicing creates multiple virtualized networks on a physical network for added flexibility. Connected devices drive new IoT use cases in manufacturing, connected vehicles, retail, energy, and utilities.


Advanced capabilities of Gen-AI and machine learning (ML) can help enterprises optimize 5G deployment. Gen-AI can offer enhanced intelligence and adaptability to analyse complex data sets and make informed decisions in real-time for proactive network optimization. ML algorithms can be utilized to optimize network performance, predict maintenance needs, automate resource allocation, and enhance security measures in 5G networks.


Investing in high-speed networks as well as ensuring sufficient bandwidth to handle the increasing network traffic, is crucial for organizations to stay competitive. These technologies enable faster data transmission, lower latency, and improved network efficiency, ultimately enhancing the overall user experience and supporting the growing demand for data-intensive applications and services. By prioritizing investments in these areas, businesses can meet the evolving needs of their customers and adapt to the demands of a rapidly changing technological environment.


Leveraging 5G technology in enterprise networks can drive long-term sustainability and competitiveness. Enterprises can unlock various benefits aligning with their sustainability goals.


  1. Enhanced connectivity: 5G offers faster data speeds, lower latency, and increased network capacity, enabling seamless connectivity for a wide range of devices and applications. This improved connectivity can enhance productivity, efficiency, and collaboration within the organization.


  1. Innovation and differentiation: 5G technology opens opportunities for innovation and the development of new services and products. Enterprises that embrace 5G can differentiate themselves in the market, attract new customers, and drive revenue growth.


  1. Cost savings: While the initial investment in 5G infrastructure may be significant, the long-term cost savings from improved efficiency, reduced downtime, and optimized operations can result in a positive ROI over time.


  1. Scalability and flexibility: 5G networks are designed to be highly scalable and flexible, allowing enterprises to adapt to changing business needs and scale their network infrastructure as required. This scalability can support future growth and expansion initiatives.


  1. Sustainability and environmental impact: By enabling remote working, reducing the need for physical infrastructure, and optimizing energy consumption, 5G technology can contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly business operation.


Judicious investments in 5G infrastructure, combined with streamlined operations, pave the way for long-term network sustainability. Harnessing the power of AI/Gen-AI and ML unlocks further potential for innovation, cost savings, and a competitive edge in the 5G landscape. By embracing 5G, enterprises can position themselves for prolonged success in a rapidly evolving digital world.


(The author is Manjunath DK, Associate Vice President and Global Delivery Head, Network Engineering and Services Portfolio, Infosys, and the views expressed in this article are his own)