What does 5G mean for IoT?

An overview for 5G including 5G definition, key benefits and opportunities for IoT.

Put simply, 5G delivers more data faster and more securely and this will be used to connect a new range of IoT devices and applications. The speed it offers has the potential to support new business models and change processes and business performance. However, today there are few use cases that need 5G capabilities and most IoT applications are well-supported by 4G or lower bandwidth network technologies.

What is 5G?

5G is the next evolutionary step in mobile communications that has seen mobile networks previously mature from 2G to 3G to 4G. Away from the hype, what 5G really offers is low latency and high-speed connectivity. For many IoT applications this will be a critical enabling technology but the bulk of IoT will continue to be well served by 4G and connectivity such as LTE-M, NB-IoT and Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks.

LTE-M (also LTE-MTC and LTE Cat M) an LPWAN technology which allows the reuse of an LTE installed base with extended coverage. LTE-M is most suitable for global deployments for devices that needs over the air updates.

NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) is a radio technology deployed over mobile networks which is especially suited for indoor coverage, low cost, long battery life, and large number of devices.

5G key benefits for IoT

  • Enhanced mobile broadband
  • Ultra-reliable low latency communications
  • Much faster data in cities, urban areas and local networks
  • Improved energy saving functions for devices used indoor  
  • Connectivity for the internet age in rural areas, because the aging 2G and 3G will be replaced with modern 5G

How 5G evolution opens up new opportunities in IoT

5G, as it is rolled out more widely, will be used to support mission critical IoT, which relies on the low latency, high bandwidth of 5G to enable future use cases such as assisted driving, delivery robots, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), connected drones and public safety applications. It is still not clear the extent to which 5G will be needed by 5G is well-positioned at the top of the upgrade path to support IoT use cases that need continuous high-speed communication or rely on fast data analysis and decision making to deliver business benefits.

5G will bring many new possibilities for enterprises that need more efficiency, or more and faster data. Mobile IoT – LTE-M – is the 4G technology that is used to connect most IoT devices during the 5G lifecycle but 5G can be used to address use cases that need a lot of data, such as video streaming. 5G is currently mainly available in major cities in the developed world to offload 4G in crowded areas. In large parts of Europe, 5G, often in the form of LTE-M, will replace both 2G and 3G. We expect nationwide 5G and a replacement of 2G and 3G in many European countries to be a mainstream reality in 2025.

Also after 2025, we think that nationwide 4G technologies will continue to operate because 5G is designed to co-exist with 4G and 4G continues to be a very efficient technology.

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