Technological advancement such as 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 vital to unlock the promise of increased speed, unparalleled low latency and high throughput capacity.
Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and massive machine communications are some of the components that are expected to ride on the future deployment of 5G as it offers high data rates and reduced latencies built upon high bandwidth and high frequency spectrum bands.
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.
However, full adoption of 5G may only take place in a few years’ time. Thus, what is essential today is for the current network architecture to be fully enhanced and optimised to address congestion and manage high bandwidth.
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, as 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.
Gerard K. M. Lim, Chief Digital Officer of MCMC commented, “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.
“Ultimately, the goal is to ensure positive customer experience when it comes to connectivity without any congestion issues. This is also in tandem with the Government’s National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) to provide the rakyat with robust, pervasive, high quality and affordable digital connectivity as we usher the next wave of technological advancement,” added Gerard.