With the COVID-19 pandemic receding, supply chain and aviation radio altimeter issues being managed, and the intrepid groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil predicting only six more weeks of winter in the United States, it feels like life is starting to return to normal.
5G networks continue their march towards mass adoption, having been on track to exceed a half-billion global connections at the end of last year. There are now 207 commercial 5G networks deployed around the world with thousands of 5G devices available.
This year brings renewed attention towards 5G standalone deployments by operators, more focus on mobile edge computing and integration with hyperscale cloud providers. Fixed wireless access is closing the digital divide for rural customers and posing real competition with cable providers.
And of course, all eyes are on the impending 3GPP Release-17, which brings a host of new capabilities like support for non-terrestrial networks, low complexity 5G devices, ultra-reliable low-latency (URLLC) improvements for IoT, network slicing, extended reality (XR), 5G multi-cast and broadcast -- and so much more!
Much work has already been done in the testbeds, labs, and innovation centers around the world to harness the power of these 5G technologies. In 2022, we may see some early glimpses of revolutionary apps and services that will bring 5G's capabilities to bear in the marketplace.