There’s been a lot of buzz about 5G technology and how 4G LTE technology is paving the way for the future of IoT devices. But it’s often quite difficult to understand the difference between 4G and 5G, and the implications that the 5G standard will have on the Internet of Things.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the basics of 5G, what it is, and why it’s important – as well as some common application scenarios for which 5G may be used in the future. Let’s get started, and begin exploring the future of IoT.
So what is 5G?
An Introduction to the Next-Generation Wireless Standard
In the simplest possible terms, 5G is just the next step in the evolution of wireless technology following the 4G LTE standard. 5G networks are designed to be highly responsive and fast, with super fast data transfer speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second. These are expected to be achieved with early 5G networks, and the true potential for these advanced networks is even higher.
5G networks are designed to have a network capacity and throughput that is nearly 100 times faster than current 4G LTE technology.
5G could also be a breakthrough technology for the Internet of Things, as it will include several standard and different bands which are designed specifically for low-power-consumption devices – such as remote sensors and monitors that are battery-powered and meant to be kept in place for multiple years.
5G has not yet been released. It is intended to be released the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for commercial use in Q4 2018. However, it has been used in a limited fashion in some parts of the world.
In Pyeongchang, for example, at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, 5G-enabled devices were used to ward off wild boars. 5G-enabled devices were used to shoot rays, spew unpleasant gases, and emit tiger roars at the boars, keeping them away from Olympic events with thousands of spectators.
One of the main reasons that 5G is going to be so important is that it will unite many disparate wireless connectivity standards under a single umbrella – unlike existing technologies.
Because of the limitations of 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE networks, IoT manufacturers often have to use technologies that are either over or under-qualified for a particular application.
For example, 2G and 3G hardware are useful for some IoT applications because these components are cheap and use a low data rate. But some 2G and 3G networks are already being shut off – so 4G hardware may be used even though it’s not required, simply because other networks are not available. 5G will replace all of these networks with a variety of different technologies using different tariff models, ensuring constant contact and connectivity.
5G technology will allow massive IoT Applications to be implemented seamlessly. These types of applications are characterized by having 10 or more years of battery life, control over more than 100K devices, and increased coverage in problem areas (basements, houses, etc.)
One example of a 5G massive IoT Application could be self-driving cars. This is especially true because 5G will also be designed to minimize latency and increase data speed in some applications, providing response times of under 1ms for autonomous driving, for example.
The Three Main Application Scenarios Of 5G
5G is intended to address the following 3 scenarios seamlessly.
Should You Wait for 5G IoT Applications?
In general, no. Many companies are tempted to start using IoT when 5G launches, but widespread adoption is likely to take years or even nearly a decade, depending on which part of the world in which it’s used.
From a technical point of view, there is no problem with developing IoT applications for 4G, and then adapting it to 5G when the networks become commonplace. 4G already offers high bandwidth and IoT optimized standards, and it’s likely to co-exist with 5G standards for quite a long time.
Don’t wait for 5G to get started with IoT. By starting now, you can gain a competitive edge against others who choose to wait.
The 5G standard will be codified in Release 15+ by 3GPP. As you can see, network technology is advancing quite rapidly. We have gone from 150Mbps download speeds with the LTE Cat4 release, to 1.2Gpbs with LTE-Advanced Pro and we will be increasing this even further to 20Gbps with the release of 5G.
This data also shows that adoption of wireless networks is often quite delayed. Though LTE-A-Pro was outlined in June, 2016, there has still not yet been widespread adoption. It’s likely that 5G will experience similar growing pains as multiple carriers take several years to adopt it.
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IoT has the power to truly revolutionize your company. If you’re interested in adopting IoT technology – either with 4G LTE, or with the release of 5G standards, contact Round Solutions right away.
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