5G and Future Data Centers: Challenges, Potential, and Preparation
5th generation wireless networks — abbreviated as 5G — isn’t a thing of the present, but more and more data centers are preparing for it to soon be a reality. Companies like Google, AT&T, and Nokia are already starting testing 5G’s capacity, determining what 5G will be when it enters the global market. As 5G transforms from a concept to a reality over the next several years, data centers need to be ready.
What’s the big deal with 5G?
5G promises computing speeds that are 100 times faster than current networks. That’s the equivalent of 10 gigabits per second downloads. As such, data centers will have to mix edge and modular to support these super-fast computing rates.
What’s happening now?
Remember the massive infrastructure overhaul when companies were preparing for the introduction of 4G in 2015? 5G support will need to support 10 times that much capacity, meaning that preparations will be accordingly extreme.
The bottom line: 5G will require lots and lots of cloud computing.
In response, data centers need to prepare for the widespread use of 5G by improving network readiness. Many of the requirements for 5G will simply require the things you’re already doing on a larger scale: more power, cooling, servers, racks, PDUs, and space. Additionally, 5G is expected to spur the creation of even more apps, so data centers need to find ways to increase processing rates and storage capacity in preparation for this next wave technology.
Specifically, data centers will have to move away from decentralized mobile networks that process at the edge of the network. An increased centralization of processing capacity will be necessary. In fact, some companies are already experimenting with moving processing from cell sites into a data center server, making the server run network functions as software and sending processing to cell sites only when there’s high congestion.
Additionally, data centers won’t be able to function using only a single, massive data center because data centers of the future will need to be closer to towers. This means that mobile carriers will likely need to have many smaller data centers around the country to support these towers.
How can I prepare for 5G?
The first commercial 5G deployments are unlikely to begin until 2020, but it makes sense to start preparations early. And as you prepare for a massive overhaul of your data center, let Silverback Data Center Solutions take over some of the day-to-day operations. We can perform tasks like RMA processing and structured cabling, so your IT team can focus on major strategic initiatives.
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