Demystifying the Challenges of the Federal Agencies for Implementing 5G



Only 6% of the federal organizations have already deployed 5G, with 14% piloting the service.

The impact of the 5G network has been recognized all over the world. As countries are having a tussel, over the development and implementation of this technology, the organizations are scaling up its infrastructure so that the technology can be applied.

A survey by the Gartner revealed that two-third of the organizations intends to deploy the 5G network by 2020. They intend to utilize the attributes of the 5G network alongside the Internet-of-things. The survey reveals that 59% of the respondent organizations expect 5G capable network to be the target-use case for IoT, while 53% of the surveyed organizations are inclined towards utilizing 5G network for enhanced video quality and services. Cisco, forecasted that by the year 2022, 5G connections will represent over 3% of total mobile connectors i.e, more than 422 million global 5G devices, and M2M connections, will account for nearly 12% for global mobile data traffic. The company has also forecasted that by the year 2022, the average 5G connection, will generate about 3X more traffic than the average 4G connection.

The Fifth Generation mobile network also known as the 5G, is the wireless communication network which accounts for lower latency, promises greater stability, the ability to connect many more devices at once, and move data at faster speed. Unlike the 4G network, the download speed by 5G technology is expected to reach by 500 to 1500Mbps, thus making 5G 10-20 times faster than 4G. According to a survey by Gartner & Co., the global 5G network infrastructure revenue is expected to reach by US$8.1 billion. The report states that the investment in 5G network infrastructure will account for 21.3% of the total wireless infrastructure revenue for the year 2020, which observes a surge of 10.4% as compared to that of 2019.

The United States of America is amongst the very first countries that is investing heavily on 5G technology. One of the biggest investment by the USA of utilizing this technology is in the country’s federal agency. Reports suggests that in the fiscal 2020 defense spending bill, the congress funded US$275 million in the research and development of this technology to the Department of Defense. The Congress has utilized two government-wide cybersecurity programs-the Civilian Agency-Focused Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program and the DOD’S Comply to Connect (C2C) program for scaling up and rectifying the threats that are associated with cyber-security network.


Challenges Faced by US Federal Agency

Despite, the heavy investment made by the USA, to upgrade its Federal agencies with 5G, the research report “Is your agency ready?” by Market Research in Collaboration with Commscope reveals that the federal agency is not ready for deployment of the technology.

The study was conducted from April 23 to May 13, 2020, in a blind online survey. The survey had 200 participants, out of which 56% were federal civilian or independent government agency, 40% were defense, military or intelligence agency, 3% federal judicial branch, and 2% were from federal legislature.

While 82% of the survey respondents’ plans to or have already adopted the 5G network, only 6% of the organizations have already deployed 5G, with 14% piloting the service, 62% evaluating and planning to install 5G, and 71% analyzing the software, hardware and endpoints that would best suit the 5G network. The report states that more civilian than defense agency respondents are not planning to upgrade their infrastructure for 5G network support.

One of the biggest barrier that has been cited by the respondents is the 5G adoption costs. While 44% of the respondents believe that the biggest barrier associated with 5G installation is the initial/up-front costs, 49% are concerned about the ongoing costs, and one-third of the respondents unaware about the adoption cost of 5G networks.

The report also states that the prime target of the respondents while utilizing 5G network, will be data-analytics ( two-third), and Internet of things (half ), thus making artificial intelligence the third priority(45%) of the organizations. In the report, 83% of the respondents have cited keeping traffic transversing the agency’s network on site as the priority, whereas 64% respondents said otherwise.


Addressing the Challenge

It is obscure that despite the investments being made, Federal agencies still have loopholes that is thwarting for the 5G network to be implemented. The Study has provided some pointers which would enable in scaling the infrastructure. These pointers are:

1. Sites available across the campus where they can deploy base stations that are all interconnected with fiber. Small cell sites placed across campuses closer to users along with an internal building DAS (Distributed Antenna System) to ensure in-building coverage improves the coverage, capacity, and overall experience for users. While they can be backhauled over copper and air, fiber-based small cell MBH is scalable, secure, and often the most cost-effective.

2. A data center that can support the 5G-NR (New Radio) core, which the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) just ratified. The 4G network architecture, which many agencies are initially using to deploy 5G, was defined to meet mobile network needs that existed several years ago. Today it presents limitations that a 5G-NR core overcomes— particularly around how much data can be quickly transferred across blocks of spectrum. Data analytics and IoT are the top applications respondents say they will use 5G for. That means massive increases in data processing. The data center’s power will be needed to create the algorithms that enable this data to be processed. In an IoT-empowered world, the importance of augmented intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) cannot be understated. Neither can the role of the data center in making it happen.

3. Tower sites where you can mount the equipment so that you are able to cover the campus. Masts that transmit data to and from a device to the wider network are essential for the radio layer of a 5G network and ensuring that DAS systems are deployed for the internal LTE coverage.



The 5G network if utilized alongwith IoT, will transform the functioning across industries, But at the same time, the challenges associated with 5G network amongst the federal agencies must be met. The organizations and agencies, hence, must employ strategic approach, that would help them in scaling their infrastructure for the 5G network.