Smart City

Smart City Sentinel

Will 5G Fixed Wireless Access Redefine Smart City Infrastructure and Services?

By Matthew Vulpis

Technological innovations are rapidly reshaping the landscape across a variety of industries, and none more so than the introduction of 5G. 5G will be faster and able to handle more connected devices than the existing 4G LTE network, with improvements that will enable a wave of new kinds of tech products. Among them, fixed wireless access (FWA) is lined up for a major improvement thanks to the advent of 5G.

The evolution of private 5G, otherwise known as Enterprise 5G, is projected to take fixed wireless access to a new level using a wide range of radio spectrum. 5G FWA brings organizations major capacity gains and low-latency connectivity, dramatically enhancing the performance capabilities of networks with exponentially higher-speed network coverage than existing connectivity networks, with greater cybersecurity features built-in.

Smart City projects are certain to benefit from 5G FWA given performance and economic benefits.

The 5G Fixed Wireless Access Market was valued at $503 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a whopping CAGR of 135.9 percent from through 2026. These estimates put the market value at $87 billion by 2026.

“This predicted growth can be attributed to the fact that the past decade has witnessed several improvements in network connectivity and related services,” said Jonathan Schwartz, founder and CEO of Pente Networks, developer and supplier of an IT-friendly private 5G enterprise platform, which can be used directly by organizations or brought to market by service providers. “Organizations of all sizes, for the first time, can have full control over their connectivity, while Managed Service Providers can support multiple SMEs, large enterprises, educational and other organizations on a single, simplified operating system that simultaneously delivers ultra-fast and secure wireless networking at much lower costs than traditional solutions.”

On top of this, the increasing adoption of connected devices, such as smartphones, laptops, and smart devices, in several commercial and residential applications, such as distance learning, autonomous driving, multiuser gaming, videoconferencing, and live streaming, as well as in telemedicine and augmented reality, is expected to generate the demand for 5G fixed wireless access solutions to achieve extended coverage.

“Modern, software-defined and cloud-managed 5G network technology is capable of offering sufficient bandwidth to support increasing data traffic associated with the innovative devices and applications now available to business, including IoT and Industrial IoT, and advanced edge computing applications,” Schwartz said. “We now can offer 10 to 100 times more capacity and high-speed data services than that provided by 3G and 4G networks, and we have designed a smooth ‘glide path’ from 4G to 5G, which is extremely attractive to IT teams who will have more independence, flexibility and scalability when they own and operate their networks, or work with an MSP to do so. FWA represents a great opportunity for challengers and alternative service providers, including the growing number of Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs).”

The services segment is also projected to account for a major market share of the 5G fixed wireless access market in terms of value. Increased spectrum efficiency and low cost per bit are expected to strengthen the business cases of fixed wireless access and support its evolution toward 5G services. In addition to companies like Pente, which provides a HyperCore virtual network operating system, other network vendors contribute elements for 5G FWA, including Ericsson (Sweden), Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (China), and Nokia (Finland) and Mavenir and others in North America and globally.

Because of these benefits, 5G fixed wireless access services are expected to witness an increased demand in the coming years. Such services include 5G B2B private lines, which generate high average revenue per user (ARPU) and face little competition in the market at present. Despite their high service-level agreement (SLA) requirements, 5G fixed wireless access services are an attractive new market with good potential. They also eliminate the requirement of complex solution integrations and are already commercially available.

“The business case is easy to make, based on many factors,” Schwartz explained, “from increasing demands for reliability and resilience, especially when it comes to edge computing, to the need to support innovations, including those in Smart City environments. Private 5G delivers dramatically better coverage – not only outdoors – but in buildings as well. The flexibility and scalability of wireless private networks are very attractive, as are the economics associated with no longer having to run fiber to every location, to run fiber to every floor of a high rise in a Smart City. We are experiencing this with our customers and partners over and over again, including across campus environments, which are in themselves small Smart Cities.”

While 5G fixed wireless access is expected to boom around the globe, North America is estimated to account for the largest market share, in terms of value, in 2020. North America is one of the leading markets for 5G in the world in terms of research and development, network design/deployment, and the presence of the key players.

In North America, the US specifically is considered to have the most engaged user base, which is expected to grow continuously with increasing new subscribers. Overall, however, full-fledged 5G implementation in North America is expected to fuel the market for on-demand video services.

“We have chosen the U.S. as our global headquarters,” Schwartz said. “We established Pente in Israel, where we’ve spent years investing in and developing our advanced private 5G operating system, and having deployed and proven our system locally, grew very quickly in both North America and Europe, including with Telefonica, as we announced earlier this year. We have dozens of systems in place, and the results have been outstanding, given the simplification of spinning up private networks without having to worry about the wires. 5G FWA utilizing existing spectrum capacity, including CBRS in the U.S., delivers efficient and secure access to Smart Homes, Smart Buildings, Smart Cities, and more in an increasingly digital, hyperconnected world.”

Discover the nearly limitless potential of Smart Cities and how connected solutions will drive city wide improvements, better quality of life for residents and business opportunity for enterprises, at The Smart City Event, taking place June 21-24, 2022, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Smart City Event is part of IoT Evolution Expo and #TECHSUPERSHOW, bringing all the technologies businesses, governments, and other organizations need to succeed in today’s digital economy. Pente Networks will be on-site and available for more information in Booth #241.

Edited by Erik Linask
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