Everyone seems to know about 5G, no matter how technology unsavvy they are. It’s clear that 5G is not just another generation of mobile technology – it has captured the public’s imagination because of its potential to change industries, businesses and the very way we interact with digital content.

However, 5G comes with a few strings attached, and they are mostly of the fibre kind.

The 5G experience — whether in the home, office or on the go — can only be achieved through fibre access networks. Fibre and 5G are not competing; they complement each other. Fibre makes 5G faster and cheaper to deploy, while 5G extends fibre coverage and brings mobility, which wired technology cannot offer. Together, they can achieve more than each can alone. So, if you ask operators what the core of their strategy is today, they will say 5G and fibre.

These days, fibre broadband is pretty much everywhere, passing every street and every building in towns and cities, stretching into villages, and across great parts of the countryside. In parallel, fibre technology has evolved to be faster, more agile, more reliable and greener. These two factors – the ubiquitous presence of fibre and the technology advances – have created a shift in the industry. It is no longer about fibre-to-the-home; it is fibre-for-everything. Fibre can now connect consumers, businesses, industry 4.0, smart cities – and yes, also 5G sites.

One of the key considerations for 5G deployments is mobile transport, the part of the network that carries traffic from mobile sites deeper into the network. This is even more important as 5G starts to densify and new cell sites need to be deployed, each of which requires a transport route. Fibre broadband networks already exist in these locations, so leveraging these networks is the most efficient way to provide mobile transport. It reduces costs and power consumption by half.

Similar synergies can be found everywhere. Industry 4.0 has brought a wave of value-add applications that depend on high-speed connectivity. Many new applications are based on a large number of HD images that are sent to the cloud for analysis and real-time feedback, and that requires high-speed and low-latency connectivity. Quality control, packaging and storing, inventory management, video surveillance, security and machine automation are just a few of the examples.

In many scenarios involving fixed machinery and equipment, fibre broadband provides the fastest and greenest connectivity to and within enterprises, making 5G and fibre the perfect mix for Industry 4.0. The same goes for smart cities and consumer broadband.

Fibre is truly an exciting technology. Of all the broadband technologies, it is the fastest, the greenest, and it lasts forever. Today, 25 Gb/s Passive Optical Networks (PON) are already in the field, 50 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s are on the horizon. Fibre PON networks are six to eight times more power efficient than other access technologies, so the more users and services that are connected to fibre, the better it is for energy bills and our carbon footprint.

With sub-millisecond latency, mission critical reliability, intelligence for slicing and zero-touch automation, fibre is the perfect companion to 5G for a better and greener connected world.

This article was written by Ana Pesovic, Marketing Director, Fixed Networks Nokia

Ana heads the Fiber Access marketing in in Nokia. She built up extensive international telecom experience, with positions in sales, pre-sales and R&D in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and India. As member of various industry organizations, she’s a strong advocate of Fiber.