5G Accessibility Image credit pixabay/mohamed_HasanWe have come a long way since the first cell phones, which could barely keep a call connected. It was years before we were able to send a text message. Today, 4G is seen as a blessing for many, especially with its support for mobile broadband. As we progress forward we now find ourselves on the cusp of the 5G roll-out. This has been a long time coming due to the new technologies required to make it work.

The jump to 5G will make accessing data a more efficient and faster experience, or so that is the promise. However, for vendors like Sprint, T-Mobile and EE to achieve these results, some overhauls must be made to their network.

More data is coming through the network and greater speed is needed to handle it all. But by increasing line speeds up to 100G the current network monitoring, application monitoring and SIP monitoring tools, which often work at lower speeds, cannot handle the new influx of traffic.

This leads to and therefore sub-optimal performance from the tools being used. Upgrading the monitoring tools to cater for higher network speeds would be extremely expensive. Instead, carriers should invest in a network visibility solution that offers flexibility and high port density. This will make traffic more manageable for the legacy tools that are already deployed.

5G brings challenges for Mobile Network Operators

5G truly looks set to make the end-users’ lives easier. For the carriers or Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) the stress is only just beginning. Even ignoring the competition between MNOs, to be able to scale existing 4G networks and transition into 5G is tough.Then doing this while also remaining profitable is an even tougher challenge. 5G has great potential but for it to benefit the MNOs it also needs to be cost-effective.

An infinite network requires truly scalable visibility solutions

Right now, there is a lot of debate amongst MNOs around when 5G might roll-out. Recently, network provider O2 stated that having a full 5G service before 2020 would be impossible. However, EE, and parent company BT, are confident they can get the network up, running and in the hands of consumers in 2019.

Meanwhile across the Atlantic many MNOs in the USA, like T-Mobile and Verizon, are confident they can have 5G ready by the end of this year. However this is only in select cities and for certain purposes.

Much of the uncertainty around commercialization of 5G is based around the complex nature of 5G architecture

In order to ensure that demand is met for visibility to the growing volume of traffic and links, packets must be consolidated and mapped into manageable segments. This traffic can then be sent to the appropriate monitoring tools. It is simply not practical or cost effective to put monitoring tools on every link. Leveraging visibility solutions that are affordable, scalable and offer high port density can help MNOs efficiently manage network traffic. This is done for quality, availability and security as they roll out new 5G architectures.

Ensuring profitability

Increasing the speed of their network requires operators to review their monitoring solutions. They will need to ensure that they can keep up with the changes in network technology. This is where packet brokers can deliver the flexibility to manage existing monitoring tools. They also allow for the introduction of new technology. As the bandwidth of MNO’s networks increases, the scalability of the network packet broker becomes more important for cost-effective growth.

Controlling the traffic

Network packet brokers need to efficiently manage the traffic through to the monitoring tools. Imagine a single road, full of traffic all following each other at the same speed. Any single accident, breakdown or malfunction will quickly lead to a blockage that lasts for hours. Now imagine you have the same amount of traffic but rather than one big road, you have lots of little roads defined by the vehicle type. This way each road can be easily managed and if something happens on one road it doesn’t disrupt everyone. This is the service that packet brokers provide to the network operators.

Packet brokers deliver alternative traffic options. This efficiency leads to lower network costs and a reduction in churn for the MNO’s.

5G is a new venture for all MNOs and this can lead to unpredictability in the network. MNOs are no strangers to packet brokers. Past experience, however, shows that they often underestimate the traffic they are looking to manage. This results in the need to buy larger packet brokers as network growth requires additional ports. What they need is a smarter packet broker that is truly scalable. This way the number of links required can be met by simply expanding the number of ports of their current network visibility solution. MNOs no longer need to buy a whole new packet broker.


Whether we see 5G in 2019 or 2020, for 5G to thrive one thing is needed. It is important for the MNOs to roll out the service in a profitable way. They can do this by having maximum visibility across their network. This way they can manage traffic efficiently by identifying problem areas and correcting anomalies.

MNOs should be looking for an exceptional solution that is scalable to any situation. They need a solution with a high-port density, easy to use and affordable. A packet broker that works smarter and faster. That is the ethos behind what we have focused on developing here at Network Critical to enable MNOs and consumers to reap the rewards and potential of 5G.

NetWork Critical logoSince 1997, Network Critical has provided high quality TAP and Network Packet Broker solutions to customers around the world. A global business with 20 years’ experience in the network access technology marketplace, Network Critical has gained an enviable reputation for the quality and flexibility of its products and professional customer service and support. Network Critical has over 5,000+ customers served by offices in the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia and it has longstanding history of producing and distributing it products to global markets.


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