Open Architecture Provides More Vendor Opportunities
Andrew Thiessen, head of 5G/xG engagement for MITRE, calls the 5G Challenge a great idea because it is doing interoperability testing of significant interfaces.
“When you look at these components, you want to think of them like Legos,” Thiessen explains. “You want to be able to mix and match different colors of Legos from different vendors and actually have them fit and perform well together. The 5G Challenge is a necessary step to mature the ecosystem, and DOD is not stopping there.”
In addition to being an early adopter of 5G networks, DOD is making long-term investments in workforce development, recognizing that 5G requires skill sets in wireless hardware, network stack software, edge and cloud computing, and connected applications.
“When I try to hire people in the 5G space, I am dipping into the same very shallow pool of talent that everybody else is,” says Thiessen, who points out that 5G tends to blur technology and engineering disciplines.
“3G and even 4G, to some extent, were centered on your understanding of cellular technology,” he says. “5G is the first cloud-native generation.”
IT people who understand cloud already have a skill set required to build out 5G, Thiessen explains.
“The DOD is forward thinking in trying to build its own 5G workforce, and it realizes that IT is as much of an enabler for 5G as cellular engineering was for 3G.”