Pakistan’s 5G Rollout

Pakistan’s smart city initiatives have the potential to work on the integration of 5G and edge computing.

Edge computing constitutes a paradigm in which data acquisition, processing, and analysis occur near the point of origin, rather than being relayed to a centralised data-processing repository or cloud infrastructure. This approach minimises latency, reduces the bandwidth required for data transmission, and enhances the efficiency of data-intensive applications. 5G’s promise of handling extensive data with minimal latency and superior reliability hinges on edge computing. Without processing data near its source, 5G be­comes merely a faster network, unable to reach its transforma­tive potential due to bandwidth constraints and latency goals.

The launch of 5G in Pakistan will initiate prospects for eco­nomic and social prosperity and pose a solid foundation for safeguarding users in a connected world. One of the preliminary advantages of edge computing is its ability to reduce latency, which is beneficial for firms with massive data sets since it lowers data storage costs and bandwidth needs. Another advantage of edge computing that stands out is security. Edge computing makes data transference sub­stantially secure against attacks and breaches.

Additionally, with the advent of 5G technology, the addition of edge computing devices enhances the system’s strength and stability, which is vital in dealing with new and complex security challenges with high­er speed and connectivity. Real-time monitoring is another amazing benefit of edge computing as it allows businesses to make rapid and re­liable decisions, which is crucial in today’s business environment.

For example, in the global medical business, the integration of 5G technology and edge computing can be seen for remote patient mon­itoring and real-time data processing, and a mobile health monitoring system for cardiac rehabilitation has also been implemented. In this re­gard, Pakistan’s healthcare system has faced numerous accessibility, transportation, and affordability challenges due to population expan­sion and other factors. This implies that edge computing and intelli­gence offer a more viable solution, particularly for rural communities. It enables remote observations, analysis, and diagnosis of health prob­lems without physical appointments, thereby enriching the quality of care. Notably, Edge intelligence is vital in anticipating technological faults in medical devices, thus reducing the cost of maintenance.

As a result, implementing edge computing and intelligence can trans­form Pakistan’s healthcare system, making it more efficient, accessible, and cost-effective. The study titled “Real-time Pneumonia Prediction using Pipelined Spark and High-Performance Computing” illustrated that edge computing might be used for real-time pneumonia diagno­sis, thus reducing latency, and enhancing precision. In 2024, over 250 children in Punjab, Pakistan, died from pneumonia infection. By ap­plying edge computation in healthcare, particularly in underdeveloped areas, Pakistan has a chance to improve pneumonia diagnosis, leading to quicker treatment and a higher survivability rate.

Similarly, the Pakistani manufacturing industry may adopt edge com­puting in real-time data processing, predictive maintenance, and quality control. This will enable the industry to decrease emissions from plants, improve customer experiences, reinforce the supply chain, reduce down­time, and detect issues that could affect manufacturing operations. It will support companies in Pakistan in keeping up to date on plant emissions in real-time throughout the smog season, directly improving air quality and public health. The most common cloud computing use cases are IaaS, SaaS, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, and virtual machines for software test­ing and development. Edge computing may be applied to Big Data ana­lytics, cloud gaming, IoT, predictive maintenance, and other applications. Unlike cloud computing, edge computing requires a separate system for each node. Depending on the number of these nodes in an organisation, the costs might be much higher than those for cloud services.

Remarkably, the edge computing market in MENA is expected to de­velop at an outstanding 18.3 per cent CAGR through 2030, driven by 5G deployment, IoT adoption, data localisation, and real-time process­ing. Pakistan’s smart city initiatives have the potential to work on the integration of 5G and edge computing, which can turn traffic manage­ment around, relieving congestion and making roads safer. By includ­ing edge devices that can process data on-site, the government may be able to minimise carbon emissions while also establishing a sustain­able and profitable urban infrastructure.

Edge computing and 5G technology are transforming the digital en­vironment in Pakistan. Pakistan can improve efficiency, safety, and sustainability across several industries by using the advantages of edge computing and the upcoming rollout of 5G networks. The Minis­try of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoIT&T) is instrumental in fostering this shift. It is of the utmost importance for the MoIT&T to explore integrating the 5G deployment with edge com­puting technologies. This will help Pakistan remain at the forefront of digital innovation and sustainable development. Embracing new tech­nologies boosts economic growth and creates a future distinguished by increased connectedness, creativity, and vitality, underlining a shift towards a more consistent and ecologically sensitive society.

Rameen Shahid
The writer is a researcher at the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), Lahore, Pakistan. She may be reached at info@casslhr.com

Rameen Shahid
The writer is a researcher at the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), Lahore, Pakistan. She may be reached at info@casslhr.com

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