The UAE is moving full steam ahead toward 5G, with Abu Dhabi ranking amongst the fastest cities to adopt fifth-generation mobile networks globally. While 5G promises better prospects for accessibility and convenience, it is important to understand what is needed to assure its success.
The complex nature of 5G mobile networks requires service assurance to be at a level that man alone cannot achieve. Whether it be cybersecurity, personalized applications aimed at changing the interaction between businesses and customers, or network diagnostics, artificial intelligence (AI) is the answer to underpinning 5G mobile networks.
In an exclusive interview, Gaurav Mohan, VP Sales, SAARC & Middle East, NETSCOUT, we asked the following:
How is 5G gaining ground in the region and the UAE?
5G connectivity will account for 20% of all mobile connections by 2025. Regional network operators are significantly investing in the next generation 5G architecture. Additionally, six out of ten Middle Eastern businesses intend to invest in 5G networks. The Middle East was one of the first regions in the world to prepare for 5G, with mobile 5G commercially available in mid-2019 and fixed wireless services in 2018.
In fact, in 2019, the UAE was ranked first among the Arab countries and fourth globally in launching and deploying 5G networks. Furthermore, the UAE’s 5G network speeds are among the fastest globally. The introduction of 5G wireless communications heralds a new era of network connectivity that will transform many aspects of business and our personal life.
What challenges can organizations face while implementing 5G?
The 5G ecosystem is far more complicated than previous generations of technology. In contrast to the diversified collection of players—service providers, core and edge cloud providers, and enterprises—5G necessitates a wide range of session elements, ranging from location to software version, device type, and so on.
Moreover, 5G networks generate vast volumes of data, and handling massive amounts of data presents issues in continuously finding business value that will enhance consumer experiences, improve existing corporate operations, and raise return on investment (ROI).
The amount of data generated by 5G will only multiply. According to research, the shortfall of data scientists in the United States alone will reach a quarter-million by 2030. Simply put, 5G is bringing in data at a rate that humans cannot keep up with. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one technique to close this gap.
Why does AI need 5G to succeed, and how do these technologies work together?
Few technologies complement one other as well as AI and 5G. The essence of why AI and 5G are so complementary is data: 5G is a data firehose, which AI can quickly analyze and learn from to create unique customer experiences that cater to users’ diverse needs.
The 5G ecosystem’s complexity needs a level of service assurance that none can achieve solely through manpower. AI will underpin fifth-generation mobile networks in various ways, from network diagnostics to cybersecurity to tailored applications that will profoundly change how businesses and consumers interact. Human recognition alone will not navigate the complexity of 5G networks as quickly or accurately as AI will. It has progressed to the point that 5G networks can be proactive and predictive, which is critical for achieving the ultimate objective of universal, enterprise-grade mobile networks.
Additionally, cybersecurity is an area where AI will be critical for 5G. Since the network is decentralized, the attack surface is larger, and applications are housed at the “edge,” where they are more difficult to protect, attack vectors can grow considerably. Given the extremely sensitive applications that 5G provides trust with, having AI to detect any interference is critical.
How does the collaboration between AI and 5G deliver everyday benefits to enterprises?
In many ways, AI will benefit 5G by automating routine, time-consuming, and laborious operations. By automating repetitive activities, AI will empower service providers, companies, and other members of the 5G ecosystem to employ highly trained resources better.
Due to the dramatic changes in network service demands and operational processes resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic, remote operations have become critical. AI can automate tedious jobs and improve coordination in-person or over the internet, making 5G networks scalable for the future workplace.
What are some potential difficulties organizations can face when using AI in their 5G networks?
Organizations should be aware that there may be a few bumps in the road during implementation.
Enterprises should prepare to mitigate risks posed by cultural shifts in terms of employees transitioning work roles, emerging technologies, and the importance of monitoring enterprise networks to ensure end-to-end visibility and real-time insights into all relevant segments, ranging from service types (e.g., video, IoT) to contrasting cloud classifications (public, edge, etc.).
To get the most out of 5G, businesses should look for a vendor with deep domain understanding across various disciplines who can help them integrate AI into their networks.
To summarize, it’s safe to say that 5G is a unique technology that demands an equally unique engine such as AI. Providers and companies must rely on “per-session” data to instantly mitigate threats. Guaranteeing a smooth 5G experience will be difficult, but it is possible if we blend human and computer intelligence.