Everyone is talking about the latest generation of network technology, 5G, and how its adoption can significantly (whether good or bad) affect our lives and the way we do things. In a nutshell, 5G offers better connectivity speed at 20 gigabits per second (1,000 times faster than 4G) without causing delays. Sounds promising, right? There are, however, a few hurdles to its full implementation.

5G Implementation Challenges

The first hurdle to 5G’s full rollout is that it isn’t accessible at very long distances because it uses high-frequency waves. Simply put, users who are too far from the connectivity source can’t use 5G.

5G connectivity also comes at a hefty price. A report estimated the cost to deploy a small cell-ready 5G network at US$6.8 million for a small city to US$55.5 million for a large, dense one. Not all cellular service providers can probably shell out that much money readily.

Some studies also report potential health hazards related to 5G use.

Despite misgivings about the technology, however, 5G also has tons of benefits beyond connectivity speed. And these extend to the realm of artificial intelligence (AI).

How 5G Can Help AI

As more and more businesses continue to use AI to enhance processes and operations, they will have to deal with higher data volumes. To continue reaping these technologies’ benefits, they would need faster connectivity. 5G could address that.

5G can aid in hastening neural network processes, which are the foundation of AI processes. Artificial neural networks, which are responsible for simulating the way the human brain analyzes and processes information, require massive amounts of data input that 5G can help with.

5G also makes it possible to implement network slicing where portions of a network are divided into several aspects to answer a specific need. This feature is essential in a hospital, for instance, where doctors can use a separate network for highly critical matters.

In a sense, 5G’s ultra-speed download capabilities and low latency (i.e., does not cause delays), data scientists and developers can obtain as much information required as possible in a short period. With this, they can build better analytics and machine learning (ML) models.

5G networks can support as many as 1 million devices per square kilometer, enabling them to obtain exhaustive data sets from every device for learning purposes to perform their tasks.

Now that we touched on some benefits that AI can get from 5G use, you may be wondering if the relationship works the other way around. Let’s flip the coin to find out.

How AI can Benefit 5G

5G networks would need AI’s help to deliver optimal benefits effectively. ML models can efficiently route 5G network traffic, classify tasks, and improve performance management, among others.

AIOps is essential in network virtualization for 5G network management. It refers to a multi-layered technology platform that automates and enhances IT operations by using analytics and ML to analyze big data collected from various IT operations tools and devices to spot and react to issues in real-time automatically. AI can thus help 5G networks use infrastructure resources efficiently. It can automatically discern traffic patterns to ensure that end-to-end processes and applications run smoothly.

As you’ve seen, 5G and AI can indeed complement each other. That said, we’re bound to see their convergence in many ways in the future.