The improved bandwidth, latency and security of the next generation of mobile connectivity will be so valuable to enterprises it will ultimately displace their WiFi networks, according to Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, the leading virtualisation provider.

While telcos have begun rolling out national 5G networks to serve the general population, large businesses are readying their own unlicensed deployments. More work needs to be done on standardisation, Gelsinger tells Which-50, but it’s following a similar path to standardised servers in IT.

Pat Gelsinger, VMware Chief Executive Officer. vmware.com

“We see this confluence of 5G and underlying standardisation of the platform and solution for the marketplace,” the longtime VMware CEO told Which-50. 

“I believe those together with unlicensed spectrum, or managed spectrum by non-service providers, will open up the potential for enterprise 5G deployment that will have markedly better security conductivity, bandwidth and latency than their WiFi equivalents.”

Gelsinger, who is credited with helping develop WiFi, has been tipping 5G as a genuine alternative to WiFi for years. During this year’s VMworld conference, held virtually last week, he doubled down on the value of 5G to enterprises.

“WiFi was a wonderful technology,” Gelsinger told Which-50 on a follow up call with media on Tuesday. “But it was never architected for I’ll say mission critical uses and deployments. And that’s where I really see enterprise 5G having a very prominent role as the technology starts maturing and deploying over the next couple of years.”

Enterprise 5G industries

The VMware chief says all industries stand to benefit from enterprise 5G but two – manufacturing and minerals – were already expressing particular interest.

Manufacturers may require lower latency connectivity for Robotic Process Automation equipment while resource companies rely on high speed edge technology for asset maintenance and inspections.

“[Enterprise 5G helps if] you want to have high conductivity, increasing autonomy, and robotics, etc in remote locations. I expect that one to be uniquely valuable.”

But eventually Gelsinger expects IT departments will run their own 5G networks on campus.

Data centre approach

WMware offers a dedicated Telco Cloud solution – essentially the data centre resources that are required to deploy and manage a mobile phone network – and counts several Australian telcos as customers.

“We’re motivated to bring [a] data centre, cloud software approaches to 5G, then expanding and delivering that all the way through the [Radio Access Network], solving one of the major geopolitical challenges that we’ve seen, and then taking it into the enterprise and these new edge use cases.” 

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