Network infrastructure is the backbone of mobile IT

By Carl Peters, European VP Solutions Engineering at Zayo Group.

  • 1 week ago Posted in

Mobile technology has become ubiquitous in the UK, with around 97% of the nation's 68 million inhabitants connected. As customers increasingly depend on ultra-fast speeds, low latency, and seamless connectivity, particularly with the swift rollout of 5G, mobile operators must invest heavily in strengthening their network infrastructure to ensure it's robust, scalable, and secure. 

However, meeting these demands for ‘any time, anywhere’ mobile access is a challenge. Currently, only 41-55% of the UK has 5G coverage from at least one operator. The government aims for “all populated areas”, including rural communities, to have standalone 5G coverage by 2030. But without a robust backbone of network infrastructure, the deployment and viability of these recent mobile IT advancements like 5G will be severely limited. 

Reliable and secure fibre optic connectivity establishes the crucial foundation for effectively implementing and operating advanced mobile services. This alliance between fibre infrastructure and mobile IT lays the vital groundwork for widespread commercial adoption.

Rising customer expectations 

In today's highly connected world, consumers and professionals have little patience for sluggish speeds or poor coverage. A poor experience could quickly turn casual users away from an operator and hinder critical commercial adoption of mobile IT. With so much riding on 5G's success, operators must ensure their networks can consistently deliver the ultra-fast, low-latency connectivity that's been promised. 

However, 2023 data from Ofcom paints a concerning picture. While 5G coverage from at least one operator covers 82% of places where people live and work in the UK, this figure plunges to just 22 per cent for areas serviced by all network providers, highlighting a dire need for more scalable network infrastructure.

To address these challenges, advanced fibre solutions are crucial. These solutions can provide fronthaul and backhaul connectivity to cellular towers, linking radios to mobile core networks with the high bandwidth and low latency needed. Small cell deployments can also play a key role in enhancing coverage and signal strength in challenging areas. 

In rural regions, initiatives like B4RN are essential for future-proofing mobile connectivity and encouraging widespread 5G adoption. B4RN’s collaboration with Zayo to install fibre infrastructure across agricultural land has streamlined the connectivity process, ensuring efficient and reliable mobile network access for rural communities.

Walk before you can run

Companies investing in advanced mobile IT innovations before having robust network infrastructure in place expose themselves to considerable risk. Without a reliable, secure fibre infrastructure, companies will likely struggle to effectively implement and operate advanced wireless services - experiencing inconsistent performance, security holes, and unreliable connectivity.

Investing before a company has the basic groundwork can undermine the expected returns on mobile IT investments, hampering companies' ability to successfully deploy and monetise 5G-enabled services and use cases.

A reliable and flexible network

As demand ebbs and flows, operators need the ability to seamlessly scale bandwidth capacity up or down across their infrastructure. Always-on availability and consistent low-latency connectivity are vital. Mobile carriers need to build differentiated mobile networks faster than ever before in a highly competitive market.  

In this context, capacity and scalability become critical factors, enabling businesses to handle the increasing needs of mobile IT services. By leveraging robust network infrastructure that can adapt to evolving requirements, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and deliver the seamless connectivity experiences that modern users expect.

High-capacity connectivity routes

As mobile IT technologies demand more and more bandwidth, 400G connectivity is increasingly becoming the standard for businesses across the world. Research from Omdia highlights this trend, showing that 74% of companies rely on 400G for enterprise and cloud connectivity, while 58% use it for data centre communication. This highlights the importance of robust network infrastructure, as the widespread adoption of high-capacity connectivity routes like 400G emphasises the necessity of a solid foundation.

Laying the groundwork for mobile IT

The Integration of robust fibre optic infrastructure is essential to support the widespread adoption of advanced mobile technologies like 5G in the UK. It provides the necessary reliability, scalability, and security to meet surging bandwidth demands and connectivity needs. Without a solid fibre foundation, deploying and operating cutting-edge mobile IT services would be severely restricted. The alliance between fibre and mobile IT establishes the crucial groundwork for commercially viable mobile innovations.

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