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Unlocking the value of 5G

Emerging mobile technologies have revolutionised how we communicate, providing fast and digital connectivity around the world. New technology means new benefits and challenges for law enforcement agencies who need to harness the power of digital to investigate and prevent crimes and protect the communities they serve.

Now, with 5G networks in development and early new radio technology already being deployed by network operators, policing faces another critical moment. How does it adopt and implement digital capabilities to unlock more value from data whilst maintaining public trust?

Improved device location

The use of new spectrum (fuel for cellular networks), particularly higher frequencies above 24Ghz known as mmWave, will offer the opportunity to improve the location of devices dramatically, improving the likelihood of finding missing persons or tracking down suspects.

However, this new spectrum also requires the use of new equipment for Radio Frequency (RF) surveys and combined with new technologies such as multi-user multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) is likely to make these surveys more difficult to analyse and provide evidential value.

Increased pace of change

Other new technologies involved in the development of 5G, such as Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and cloud-native cores, will significantly increase the pace of change within telecoms networks as updates can be done simply through software - just as happens in industries such as IT infrastructure.

The use of cloud-native cores may, however, present policy concerns around jurisdiction and the loss of potentially sensitive information, due to the use of external providers.

Fragmented data

5G networks are also likely to enable edge computing and network slicing, which may one day offer huge benefit to consumers and industry. This may make law enforcement work more difficult, however, as data may be fragmented across multiple slices, or it may never reach the core network if data is sent device to device, enabled by edge computing.

The benefits and challenges will continue to develop as 5G technology evolves. At Roke, we’re at the forefront of the 5G journey, using our capabilities to research for and advise our customers on the best way to understand, eliminate and manage remaining security risks sensibly.

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Download the full whitepaper

For a deeper look at the development of 5G and how it could impact the law enforcement community, read our in-depth paper. We cover the following areas looking at the benefits and challenges for law enforcement:

  • 5G New Radio (NR) & spectrum
  • Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) & cloud-native cores
  • Edge computing & network slicing

Download