Today the world is on the eve of a new technological revolution in wireless networks. The expected launch of the fifth generation of cellular communication (fifth generation or 5G) is closely related to the development of no less than the breakthrough phenomenon of recent years – the Internet of Things (IoT). Both of these concepts can dramatically change business and society, providing each with unique opportunities for interaction between smart devices. So what is the future of the 5G & IoT?
5G & IoT: Speed, Сapacity, Reliability
It is already becoming clear that the concept of IoT is capable of making revolutionary changes in business, society and the management system of almost any technological process. The Internet of Things, sooner or later, will connect all those who are involved in the production and use of “smart” equipment into one global system. However, there are still many obstacles on the way to this. One of them is the insufficiency of the network capacity, which does not provide enough connectivity to maximise all the possibilities of IoT. Breakthrough in this issue can lead to the emergence of a new generation of mobile communications – 5G. Its main difference from the previous ones is a huge (over 10 Gbit / s) data transfer rate, and, accordingly, the response. The signal delay in 5G will be reduced to only 1 ms, while in 4G it is 10 ms, and in 3G – all of 100 ms.
But in the context of using 5G IoT devices, speed is, nevertheless, not the determining factor. The reliability of the network, minimal signal delay and the possibility of mass connection of various “smart” devices with their specific tasks and the uninterrupted operation of their interaction needs to come first. Although it seems that the world has come very close to implementing 5G, developers still have a lot of work to do. The global compilation and development of the IMT-2020 communication standard (officially called 5G technology) are vested in the International Telecommunication Union. At the country level, implementation will be borne by operators and communication providers and/or governments. It will be necessary to rebuild the existing infrastructure for a new generation of communications.
At the same time, 5G will not immediately replace 3G and LTE but will work in parallel, so that gadgets can be able to switch between networks, depending on user requests. Given the existing level of technological equipment of mobile operators, at the first stage, the signal coverage of 5G networks will be even smaller than that of 3G and LTE. Most likely, at first the base stations will be located along the main routes, business centers of large cities, then as the new infrastructure develops, they will also go to the “backwoods”.
To adapt to the new standards will not only require new infrastructure but also changes in gadgets and all other devices connected to the network. To fully work in 5G, these should become not only “smarter” but also more powerful. Another major challenge that 5G developers will have to solve, is to reduce power consumption. This parameter is especially relevant for all kinds of sensors and other IoT devices. To solve this, it seems that higher frequency ranges and connection of mobile networks with WiFi technology will be applied.
As for the launch of 5G, the official approval of the IMT-2020 standard is not expected before 2020, but it is possible that some operators may apply certain solutions earlier. According to available information, the first commercial introduction of the new network is expected already in 2018 and is timed to large-scale sports events, such as the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the World Cup in Russia and a number of others. In any case, the new generation of 5G communication will become the basis for the digital transformation of business and society, and the effect from its implementation will go far beyond the limits of the IT sphere.
How Will 5G & IoT Change the World?
Today, high-tech provides many additional opportunities for various gadgets that have access to the Internet. It is this function that is also unifying for IoT-devices. Since the capabilities of the 5G network are truly enormous, its appearance will unequivocally lead to a sharp increase in the number of “smart devices” and the evolution of those already existing. Simply put, the potential of the new communication standard will facilitate the connection to the network of everything that can be connected, starting from home appliances and ending with flying machines. According to some estimates, the number of simultaneous connections can reach from 50 to 100 billion devices.
But the main difference between 5G and previous generations is that it will implement a new revolution in business processes. The entertainment sphere will continue to occupy a big place in the life of society, but still, it will have to cede to the progressive technologies, such as IoT and VR. Modern business has long been living in the “digit” and was simply waiting for another round of performance, so the high speed, short response time and low power consumption, which promises 5G, will ensure the massive introduction of robots and the Internet into it.
This will allow to a “turn” in many traditional spheres of wireless networks application, having introduced hundreds of millions of online objects performing various functions. Actually, 5G will become a kind of framework around which the image of a new, digital economy, actively using IoT technology will be formed, multiplying the already known advantages of the latter and bringing it into the more widespread application. According to experts, the largest gain from the introduction of 5G & IoT will be obtained by industrial, transport, financial, energy, medical, as well as security and entertainment operations.
A small delay in the propagation of the signal in 5G provides a number of unique possibilities for use in the control of drones or the control of the movement of self-controlled vehicles. By combining data from various sources and devices, you can receive an endless stream of information, using it in various fields – from telemedicine and scientific research to urban transport management and mining. It is believed that 5G will lead to revolutionary changes in those IoT segments where objects are heavily removed, or a quick reaction is necessary. As an example, you can consider APC (field monitoring, agricultural machinery management) or industry (high-speed industrial robots, etc.).
Today, for the time being, it is not possible to completely merge wireless devices into a single network. The main obstacle is the lack of a single standard for IoT, as different network protocols are now used in its various segments. But the technology of 5G & IoT, designed to work with heterogeneous traffic, will be able to connect a variety of devices with different parameters to the Internet, both the usual mobile and smart devices, such as sensors, regulators, and other equipment.