Nick White, Executive Vice President of INTUG, represented INTUG at the Third ITU Workshop on Network 2030, hosted by the UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in London, United Kingdom, 18 February 2019. Nick reported back on the full day's program covering key issues for the long-term future of networks.
"Both the supply and demand sides were covered, with Verizon, Huawei and Vodafone presenting, as well as notable academics and other experts.
The future needs to become seamless and converged, and the very recent decision by the Broadband Forum took an important step in that direction. Technologies must evolve, rather than impose, generational change on the market; some speakers hoped 5G would be the last 'G' in mobile (despite some players already referencing 6G). Backwards compatibility should be the aim.
The prospect of transmitting holograms with all five senses, not just sight and sound (which is already demonstrable in testing), becomes feasible once resilient, low-latency communications at 2 terabits per second becomes a commercial offering. This was described as 'holoportation' - the nearest we can get to teleporting as yet!
Security, privacy and ethics for future networks provide real challenges: consider the current debates over autonomous vehicle rules in the event of unavoidable collision. New low-latency mega-satellite constellations, integrated with Wi-Fi, offer an option for transmission, with the possibility on some routes of lower latency than terrestrial fibre. Greater efficiency is needed in internet protocols, since some headers are too large for latency limits, with many unused fields, and IPv6 exacerbates this in some circumstances. Vertical integration by some dominant providers like Google effectively bypass the general public internet by all-encompassing ISP facilities; while 'fog' computing, which provides some local services connected to clouds, can obscure the otherwise open nature of access.
There was an acknowledgement that we will probably need different solutions for in-building coverage, for example for high-density wireless usage in complex conurbations like transport hubs, shopping malls, hospitals, universities, business parks, leisure complexes and sports stadia. Finally, whilst medical applications will be able to leverage high-speed, high-capacity mobile communications within the Internet of Things, this may also be integrated with in-body molecular communications - quite a prospect for leveraging human nervous systems as future networks!"