5G can make for cost-effective private backhaul

While 5G use cases tend toward connecting many devices to a network, using the wireless technology for private backhaul can have a surprising amount of utility.

abstract wireless communication network
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Equipment vendors and carriers have talked a great game about 5G's promise. Its ability to handle the high-density wireless environments created by IoT deployments and provide gigabit speeds to smartphones has been trumpeted from the rooftops.

But it's important to realize that the most eye-catching capabilities of 5G technology aren't here yet, as many of them depend on the 5G New Radio (NR) technology operating at high, millimeter-wave frequencies, which isn't yet widely available. Nor are the vast majority of endpoints currently on the market able to communicate on those sorts of networks.

However, private 5G technology – which takes advantage of the new features designed for 5G and deploys them in enterprise networks, rather than as carrier services – is quietly making inroads into the marketplace. 5G mobile backhaul transport equipment is expected to become a $3 billion market by 2024, according to recent research by the Dell'Oro Group.

Backhaul is an overlooked part of the problem set that 5G is designed to solve, since 5G is primarily thought of as an endpoint connectivity technology. Farpoint Group principal Craig Mathias said that users might be more likely to see 5G backhaul deployed by enterprises as part of a setup where both infrastructure and end users are connected via the same 5G access points. "5G is not about augmenting wire," he said. "It's about replacing it."

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