5G is the next step in the development of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or at least enhance, your 4G LTE connection. The possibilities that 5G offers will be invaluable not only for consumers, but for businesses as well. 5G has the potential to grow the economy by delivering the next-generation of digital services across key industries such as automotive, healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing and education. To support this advancement, a reliable end-to-end network infrastructure is necessary to obtain the promised speed and low latency.

Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and massive machine communications have the most to gain from the deployment of 5G. These new technologies are innovative but immensely complex. The implementation of 5G will serve as a right step forward in utilising these new concepts to the fullest.

In November 2018, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) called for a collaboration on 5G and established the 5G Taskforce, which aims to explore the practical uses and modes of 5G as well as to learn and iron out policies, regulations and spectrum planning of 5G.

The full adoption of 5G is still a few years away. What needs to be done in the meantime is the enhancement and optimisation of the current network in preparation for the deployment.

According to a press release by MCMC, Malaysia’s current 4G network suffers from low throughput of 9 megabit per second (Mbps) or 36% below average during certain times of the day. This is a result of congestion or bottlenecks between network elements i.e. the radio interface and the core network.

This is a consequence of the end-to-end network architecture that is partially fiberised within the access networks as only 40% of the Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) are fully fiberised. Currently, the average 4G download speed in Malaysia stands at 21.1Mbps.

“5G technology promises 1Gbps for each user and if the core network upgrade work is overlooked, the same throughput issue currently plaguing the country will remain. Potential bottleneck or congestion point would be between BTS and the core network. Thus, telecommunication providers must plan to ensure current 4G access is optimised and at the same time prepare for the upcoming 5G requirements”, said Gerard K. M. Lim, Chief Digital Officer of MCMC.