Industry discussion around 5G has raised the profile of high-bandwidth and low-latency applications. These include high-definition and ultra-high definition video streaming, requiring network bandwidths up 300Mbps, and cloud gaming. Virtual reality and augmented reality gaming and other applications can require both high bandwidth and low latency. Fixed fiber networks can offer significant benefits for these applications when combined with Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE802.11ax), which will reliably support multi-gigabit speeds within enterprise, residential and public spaces. The general demands on enterprise and residential access networks are changing quickly as cloud-based services and more widespread homeworking require higher speeds and more symmetric access networks.
Fixed line networks have always supported higher bandwidths and greater availability than mobile networks, and this should continue with the right investment in full fiber solutions using the latest technology. Through the development of LTE and 5G technology, wireless networks have seen significant investment and delivered huge increases in bandwidth and capabilities. These developments have been largely coordinated through three industry bodies – the ITU, 3GPP and GSMA – and have been universally adopted. The architecture of LTE and 5G wireless infrastructure is evolving to take advantage of network virtualization and deliver differentiated services through technologies such as network slicing. By comparison, fixed network development has been driven by separate industry groups focused on optical technology, access network architecture, interfaces and the Wi-Fi solutions needed to connect fixed networks to mobile devices in the home and office.