As society runs rapidly into a new phase of the information age, recent advancements in artificial intelligence, data processing and cellular communications have given rise to faster wireless data exchange. With 4G reaching comfortable download speeds up to 2 Gbps, expect the 5G jump to push mobile performance from 2.4 Gbps (current LTE Cat 20), topping out at nearly 20 Gbps. Thus, 5G adds a viable high-speed data networking alternative to wired fiberoptic networks.
Internet of Things (IoT) solutions will connect more than 50 billion devices by 2030. While 5G is still rolling out at neck-breaking speed, the resulting evolution in communications will bring the world to a faster, smarter future.
Read on to discover how businesses are utilizing and preparing for 5G mobile IoT today and how this innovative technology will seek to improve every facet of our working and personal lives in the near future.
What Is 5G IoT?
5G is about a new communication system that includes a mostly New Radio (5G NR) framework and an entirely new core network that aims to improve wireless connections worldwide. It also includes the concept of multiple access for connectivity technologies like satellites, Wi-Fi, fixed-line and cellular (as standardized by 3GPP).
With IoT-enabled devices in mind, 5G connects more devices at higher speeds and makes things like lag nearly non-existent. As a result, 5G creates an excellent user experience irrespective of what application, device or service you touch.
Massive cellular IoT technologies are characterized as a low-cost, low-power consumption solution. They thrive on deep and broad coverage indoors and outdoors. They deliver secure connectivity and authentication, are easy to deploy to any network topology and are designed for full scope scalability and capacity upgrades.
Businesses, city developers and other industrial organizations can connect more devices with better capability for much less — all with the power of 5G adaptability at their fingertips.
Mobile IoT Systems Are Paving the Way for 5G
As proposed by the GSMA, mobile IoT refers specifically to cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies using licensed spectrum bands. Both 3GPP Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and Long-Term Evolution Machine-Type Communications (LTE-M) technologies are integral to the new 5G era of smart communications. Cellular LPWA paves the path to 5G with undisrupted information flow. These 4G technologies are expected to continue under full support in 5G networks for many years and releases to come.
3GPP technologies like 4G LTE and 5G help businesses expand the reach of their IT and OT networks across hard-to-reach areas and require both an easily scalable deployment strategy and architecture.
Think of smart energy solutions in factory warehouses, where floor managers must remotely regulate power usage and environmental conditions for facilities and equipment across multiple sites for thousands of connected devices. IoT makes this possible with ease.
Existing cellular networks are adapting to the growing need to service the many billions of new devices requiring connectivity solutions that make the grade primarily in business dimensions and technically.
Enterprises deploying either NB-IoT or LTE-M are future-proofing their IoT projects. When 5G rollouts become commonplace, these two mobile IoT standards will continue integrating seamlessly into upcoming 5G releases, as already seen in the frozen Release (Rel) 16 and under final specifications in Rel 17.
Current Applications of 5G IoT
As mentioned above, 4G standards, including NB-IoT and LTE-M, which remain integral parts of early releases of 5G, are currently providing mobile IoT solutions for smart cities, smart logistics and smart utilities. Early 5G applications have focused on enterprise and high-speed industrial networking, customer premise equipment (CPE), mobile computing, video broadcasting, and fixed wireless access (FWA).
As adoption grows with more network rollouts, they will evolve and be used to stream augmented reality and 3D video (which requires high bandwidth) and for critical communications like factory automation, UAVs and more.
5G IoT will improve everyday users’ quality of life from personal application to fundamentally changing how we work and how we live.
With 5G IoT, facilities will continue improving to send critical upgrades to entire networks without freezing functionality, halting operations or overloading servers.
Current industries that will continue benefiting from these 5G IoT enhancements include:
Future 5G Use Cases
Smart homes, synced watch and phone devices, and fitness apps are commonplace now and will grow with the speed and performance capabilities of 5G. With a heavy reliance on mobile IoT on such a grand scale today, in the next 20 or so years, the 5G future will look completely different. We will see the large-scale automation of vehicles and utility services like waste management and energy production through smart grids and smart environmental monitoring to cut down greenhouse gases and pollution.
Imagine being able to park a smart car in a parking garage and gain wireless charging through the city grid while you work and then messaging your vehicle to drive itself from the parking garage to your office door.
Farmers in rural areas will be able to monitor and track crops, livestock and machinery more easily through drones and super-dense sensor networks.
Home users will be able to fully integrate the COVID-led work-from-home paradigm, which will very likely survive the pandemic as a new corporate norm. Additionally, home users will be capable of optimizing power usage and streaming their favorite entertainment from anywhere.
Society will be more efficient, smart cities will live up to their name, and users can expect personalized streams of information catered to their liking.