From the mag: 5G and the great war against lag

From the mag: 5G and the great war against lag
Published: 5 June 2019 - 8:31 p.m.
By: CommsMEA staff writer
Image credit: HBO

A version of this story appears in the June 2019 print issue of CommsMEA.

We’ve all been there: you’re streaming something. Maybe the finale of Game of Thrones (SPOILER: RIP, Dany). Maybe the NBA Finals (can literally anyone other than the Golden State Warriors please win?) or the Rugby World Cup (can the All Blacks PLEASE pull off the three-peat?). Or maybe something else entirely. Regardless, just as the action builds, and the tension rises…

Nothing.

Lag.

And lag.

And lag.

And lag.

Not very fun, is it? Needless to say, companies are well aware of this – and how much it can also hurt their bottom lines if the public turns them off in droves.

That’s where companies like Qwilt come in. In short, as vice president of marketing and business development Mark Fisher says, speeding up and reducing the capacity demands on networks is one of the key issues telcos face today. This, he says, aligns with what Fisher believes are three of the biggest trends affecting networks: Internet TV (consumers wanting more content), so-called “edge” computing, and new applications such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

“The list goes on,” he says.

“That’s the opportunity.”

It’s an opportunity Fisher, who has more than 20 years of industry experience, believes Middle East telcos are fully embracing.

“In the Middle East we see very sophisticated networks.”

Yet while the trends may be similar to the rest of the world in the region, especially in the Gulf, there are a few unique challenges, Fisher says. For instance, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), pay high prices in the Middle East to connect to the worldwide Internet backbone.

“It can be incredibly expensive.”

And yet the streaming numbers – and the demand on networks – continues to rise. Fisher says while 5G may mean faster speeds and a lower delay period between sending and receiving information – known as “latency” – it also means more people than ever before will be streaming ever-higher-definition video because it will be faster and more easily available. And that, he adds, will make people even less tolerant of any lag.

“We’ve got a few years of work to really solve this in scale.”

One can hope it is solved, because the alternative is people doing… well, everyone (at least probably, otherwise SPOILER ALERT) has seen what happened to the Iron Throne at the end of Game of Thrones.

For his part, Fisher is confident it will be. After all, he says 5G is a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Wait… didn’t people say the same thing about Dany’s crusade (SPOILER ALERT, again) to break the wheel?

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