Backhand slice: 5G and the surprise for the wireless cloud at the edge


We talk way too often about what a technology enables people to do. Its objective is to spread a very fast signal through the airwaves, using transmitters whose power curve is just under the threshold of requiring artificial cooling. It needs to be faster than what we have now, for enough customers and enough providers to invest in it, so that it may achieve that main objective. Assuming 5G deployment proceeds as planned, and the various vast political conspiracies, small and large, fail to derail the telecommunications providers' plans, it will reach the peak of its goals once it has achieved the virtualization of its packet core (which was begun with 4G LTE), its radio access networks (RAN), and the customer-facing functions of its data centers. But it's from atop the highest peak, as any Everest climber or any great John Denver song might tell you, that one obtains the best view of oneself, and one's own place in the world. The common presumption, when the topic of network functions virtualization (NFV) is brought up with respect to 5G, is that all this virtualization will take place on a single platform. Not only is this critical issue undecided, but there would appear to be a dispute over the decided or undecided nature of the issue itself.