Introduction to 5G and IoT - The New Generation of Cellular Mobile Connection Protocols

Welcome to the new blogpost of ThingForward team! Today we will introduce you the 5G technology. The new generation of cellular mobile connection provides a lot of features upon older versions as 4G, 3G and 2G. Apart from the advantages on data rate, download/upload speed, the major feature of 5G is providing a network for Internet of Things. 5G will help to rise IoT technology by providing infrastructure that sensors and smart devices need in order to deal with huge amount of data transmission. Just like we've already been digging narrowband IoT protocol, 5G should be also studied out in details.

Image 1: 3GPP's 5G Logo

Todays blogpost will start with examining 5G by its advantages first. In further topics, the technical background and the numbers will be given. After introducing the cells and spectrum, the readiness of the countries will be stated. In the end, we will discuss the relation between 5G and IoT. So, let's start with its advantages!

5G Advantages

At the first glance, here are the advantages of 5G upon older cellular mobile communication protocols, which is working alongside 2G, 3G and 4G:

  1. High data rate
  2. Reduced latency
  3. Energy saving
  4. Cost reduction
  5. Higher system capacity
  6. More reliable connection
  7. Average download speed 1GBps up to 20GBps
  8. Network for IoT

Every new protocol in cellular network offers these advantages alongside the former ones. For understanding the improvement, let's look at the targets of 5G protocol in numbers.

5G Spectrum

The increased throughput of 5G needed larger quantities of band allocation. However, first let us understand that there are 3 types of cells:

  1. Low Frequency Cells: 700MHz band is used for the communication which doesn't need a wide bandwidth.
  2. High Frequency Cells: 3.4 GHz and 3.8 GHz bands used for cellular mobile data transmission with wider bandwidth, which allows faster data transmission and lower latency.
  3. Milimeter Wave Cells: These cells allow to peers use 26GHz band for communication. The throughput is very high because of the wider bandwidth, so it helps for hotspot deployments.

5G Readiness

One of the key factors is the readiness of the countries for 5G protocol. According to the Europe 5G Readiness Index of INCITES[1], we courage you to read the full report too, here are the readiness ratio of leading countries:

Image 3: 5G Readiness of Top 10 Countries

On the original report, other countries can be also observed. The second analysis of 5G shows the trials of countries:

Image 4: 5G Readiness of Top 10 Countries

It might be interesting to analyse the countries like Spain, who has the highest number of trials, but 17. rank in readiness. On the other hand Sweden has only 2 trials but quite ready for 5G as they have the 2. rank in readiness report.

5G Hardware

When it comes to the related hardware, only 4 companies are producing hardware for 5G. These are Nokia, Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson. These equipments from ZTE and Huawei somehow pulled the trigger in some countries concerning national security and data transmission. This reason led countries, such as Japan, to ban the usage of 5G equipments from these companies. Nevertheless, this situation are dismissed by other countries. UK and US are still skeptical about using 5G equipment from Huawei, on the other hand Germany might have no problem with deploying them. No need to state, the political side and the bureaucracy between the countries will lead the spread of these equipments.

5G and IoT

According to a forecast from Business Insider, here is the IoT device installation base growth in following years:

Image 5: IoT Device Installation Base

This graph tells us that, there will be around 22.5 billion connected IoT devices by year 2021. This huge ecosystem will need a better protocol, and 5G looks like an amazing option.

There are innumerable researches for forecasting the impact of 5G on IoT. The expectation from 5G is to provide a better ecosystem for IoT devices in order to connect the units for a smarter life. There is no denying the fact that it will be faster, but it is not the only magic that will happen.

Lower latency will make 5G more suitable for traffic control and connected cars, which helps for smoother traffic control, and also for real-time applications and controls. An autonomous car can be given as an example, which drives 100 km/h and needs an immediate stop because of a critical sensor problem. With a stop command with 500ms latency would stop car in 13.5 meters but with 5G, it would be around only 2,7 meters. As an another example, a doctor in China have performed a brain surgery over 5G from 3000 kilometers away with only 0.1 seconds of latency.

5G will also solve complicated device deployment in companies by eliminating crowded data transfer thanks to its data transmission capability. On the production site, which is thought as full automated production, the real-time M2M communication will play a key role. An immediate touch with short latency would save maybe millions in car production site. Other examples can be easily found for robotics, augmented and virtual reality, smart home systems and so on.

Conclusion

The fifth generation of cellular mobile communication protocol is coming soon! It has plenty of improvements which will simplify our daily lives. This protocol will bring us more efficient connectivity, faster communication, selection of different type of cells according to our desired power consumption, lower latency and powerful network capability of handling billions of connected devices. It is not surprising to confront some blogposts which discredit 5G and its future on IoT. Lots of companies are already designed and produced the hardware which are compatible with 2G, 3G and 4G, but with this revolution in cellular network protocols, they have a huge fear for falling behind the technology. The hardware producers are only four companies so far, but we hope that it will be increased this year.

As ThingForward, we are following all the news about IoT and 5G. On the following blogposts, we will be going deeper in this field. That's all for today. Thank you for reading!

Eren Mert Irez

Sources:

[1] Europe 5G Readiness Index of INCITES
[2] Business Insider IoT Forecast