The average smartphone user should be fully informed about 5G, or have seen dozens of commercials promoting the service. Telecom companies are aggressively pushing it, with some even offering 5G routers and access points for home.
While the federal government has always been interested in 5G
and is testing it at several military bases, the technology's consumerization means that agencies must work faster to integrate it into their own networks. Citizens who have grown accustomed to lightning-fast connections on their home internet and phones will expect the same when contacting the government.
For the past few years, the development of government 5G has been slow. The Trump administration sanctioned Huawei, the leading supplier of 5G wireless network infrastructure at the time, in 2019 because its ties to the Chinese government posed a national security risk. For a time, this limited the availability of 5G network technology in the United States
until telecoms were able to switch to non-Chinese company vendors.
The 5G Market is Starting to Open Up to Federal Customers:
Other challenges for federal 5G include the potential for signals
to disrupt safety equipment aboard commercial aircraft (Verizon and AT&T agreed in January not to turn on hundreds of transmission towers near airports), as well as ongoing supply chain and workforce shortage issues.
Agencies are also in the process of transitioning their telecommunications contracts to the GSA's Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract. All existing telecom contracts that are not already covered by EIS will expire in May 2023.
It's been a trying and perplexing time for 5G supporters. However, the 5G market is beginning to shift, which may allow federal agencies to move as quickly as consumers would like.
Changes to the 5G Network Will Increase Speed and Improve Workflow:
Agencies wishing to deploy 5G will require vendors capable of securing the endpoints that connect to the network, whether on the ground or in the air, as well as the connections between the agency and its telecom provider. As network usage grows, user authentication and identity management will become essential services.
5G will allow agencies to receive and transmit far more data at a much faster rate than ever before, but that data must be protected and secured. 5G may also replace existing network technologies such as WAN and multiprotocol label-switching, and agencies must prepare for this transition.