The fifth generation of wireless technology (5G) has arrived and is being rolled out globally. 5G is possible because of the contributions of previous generations of wireless communications and a number of disruptive technologies. A 5G network is made up of multiple cooperating networks (the RAN, transport networks, and the edge/core networks). Network automation implies a single network and a single way of making that network operate automatically. Currently, that is not close to reality, though there have been great strides made in the push to increase automation in 5G networks.
A transition to a new generation of cellular services, in this case 5G, is expensive and communication service providers (CSPs) must be as efficient as possible. Cloud computing has become part of the telecom environment because it enables efficiency and cost savings. 5G specifications mandate improvements in power consumption because these enhancements help the world AND save CSPs money. Network automation is an essential part of 5G networks not because it is interesting and cool, but because it enables the network to operate more efficiently than was previously possible. While the entire 5G network will benefit from network automation, the biggest growth opportunity lies in the 5G RAN, where CSPs put the largest portion of their CAPEX and OPEX.
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