5G is the gigabit-plus wireless technology that will dominate the next decade, and -- by extension -- the lives of people that use smartphones, tablets, cars and much more.
Standardized 5G technology is now on an accelerated schedule to arrive in 2019, with the first completed radio specification expected at the end of this year. So, Light Reading has started a new award category this year to pick out emerging 5G vendor strategies.
So which vendors made the cut?
Four companies -- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Parallel Wireless Inc. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) -- made the 5G shortlist in this year's Leading Lights Awards -- find out more about them below.
The winner will be announced at the Leading Lights Awards dinner on Monday, May 15, at Brazos Hall in Austin, Texas. On the following day, the Big Communications Event opens its doors for two days of learning, networking and fun.
To find out which companies were shortlisted across all of this year's Leading Lights categories, please see: Leading Lights 2017: The Finalists.
Cisco Systems -- Hybrid Information Centric Networking (hICN) Cisco's hICN has a long history that the vendor believes will help simplify future 5G networks and context-aware mobile video delivery. Partially developed from technology created at PARC -- a Xerox company -- over ten years ago, the Information-Centric Networking (ICN) system is designed to make data access independent from location. It does this by encoding ICN data into IP addresses, and supports IPv4, IPv6 compliant file types.
Nokia -- Nokia 5G FIRST Nokia is trying to position itself as an apex predator on the 5G scene with its "FIRST" strategy. The plan is to infuse the vendor's hardware and software with leading-edge 5G specifications and silicon. To this end, Nokia is combining its AirScale MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) antennas, beamforming, radio access network (RAN) and AirScale data center technology with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s 5GTF radio specification, and the forthcoming 5G modem from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC).
Parallel Wireless -- HetNet Gateway (HNG) 5G networks will have a symbiotic relationship with their 4G LTE cousins, especially in the early stages of deployment, which could take years. Recognizing this, the Parallel Wireless HetNet Gateway enables an operator to support multiple radios -- 3G, 4G, WiFi -- while being ready for 5G. Virtualized radio (vRAN) is at the heart of the HNG concept
ZTE Corp. -- 5G Flexhaul Solution ZTE is gearing up to address one of the aspects of 5G technology expected to be among the thorniest: backhaul. The vendor's system can support both fronthaul -- connecting remote radio heads to a centralized baseband -- and backhaul. The ZTE system combines Ethernet and IP+Optical and can support network slicing -- partitioning the network for separate services -- on the bearer network.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading