Wireless is rapidly gaining prominence in government, especially as employees continue to work from home and more mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors are connected to agency networks.
According to the General Services Administration (GSA), mobile data traffic will increase fivefold by 2025, exponentially multiplying demand for wireless. Clearly, there is a need for government employees to have reliable access to information for them to support agency missions and deliver citizen services.
The emerging fifth generation (5G) cellular network technology is the future of wireless connectivity, promising increased data speeds, low latency, more reliability, and enhanced availability across civilian and defense enterprises. In fact, leaders are looking at 5G to enhance Department of Defense (DoD) decision-making and strategic capabilities from the enterprise network to the tactical edge of the battlefield—which means greater support for IoT and the Internet of Battlefield Things.
Specifically, 5G will increase DoD’s ability to link multiple systems into a broader network while sharing information in real-time, improving communication across services, geographies, and domains, according to the Defense Innovation Board’s 5G Ecosystem: Risks & Opportunities for DoD report.
5G is a thread that runs through all the drivers prompting the federal government’s embrace of wireless, according to a new paper, Top 5 Reasons for Government’s Pivot to Wireless developed by the Government Business Council and underwritten by CommScope.
Here are highlights from the paper of the top five reasons government agencies are turning toward advanced wireless capabilities:
Government agencies have begun to introduce technologies carrying greater complexity and data volume that require networks with more traffic capacity. All agencies are grappling with managing and analyzing big data in some form. For instance, the DoD anticipates a surge in data transmission with use of sensors that will track and manage inventory vital to the warfighter. Several military bases are serving as test-pilots for 5G-enabled Smart Warehouses focused on logistic operations. 5G technology will be a crucial component that will allow faster connectivity over greater distances and real time information sharing.
The DoD plans to leverage wireless connectivity to enable Augmented Reality (AR) for its military personnel. The technology would transpose data over a warfighter’s real-world view, allowing for decision-making in real time for the warfighters. 5G wireless networks will allow for connectivity twice as fast as current Ethernet networks.
The government workforce is more on the go and needs to collaborate daily with colleagues at the office, in branch offices, and at home. According to a recent survey, 44% of federal government employees said a lack of wireless hinders their productivity. Moreover, stronger network connections and reduced latency could provide new opportunities for healthcare. For example. the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) could leverage 5G to let doctors send high resolution images wirelessly between one another.
Low latency and high traffic capacity of wireless 5G could help the transportation industry realize its vision for automated vehicles and other future modes of transport, according to the report. The Department of Transportation (DoT) released a report in January 2020, noting the importance of wireless connectivity for automated vehicles. Furthermore, today’s connected automobile is ladened with sensors and mobile IoT devices and on-board computing power that focus on vehicle location, driver behavior, and engine diagnostics. All these systems use cellular networks, which in the future will increasingly be 5G technology.
Wireless networks, such as 5G, have the capacity to combine several fragmented networks into one to allow for better situational awareness. This could certainly improve communications for the DoD, which is looking to reduce fragmented networks that hamper interagency collaboration. 5G can unify networks that lack interoperability without compromising the speed and bandwidth of information sharing.
Advanced wireless capabilities such as 5G have the potential to dramatically change how government agencies fulfill their mission and deliver citizen services in a hyper-connected world. For more information, read the entire Top 5 Reasons for Government’s Pivot to Wireless paper.