The Impact of 5G on IoT

5g Mobile Phone

By: Surinder Dhar – Director of Business Development of Mobile Solutions at Valid

As the buzz of the 5G network rollout by Mobile Networks Operators (MNOs) around the world is getting louder and louder, the industry is warming up to the new IoT use cases.

5G cellular technology, introduced with Release 15, has enabled a variety of services and is based on New Radio (NR) air interface, new radio network architecture called Next-Generation Radio Access Network (NG-RAN), new core network architecture called Next-Generation Core (NGC) or 5G Core (5GC), Service Based Architecture (SBA), Network Slicing, and Edge Computing. 5G Release 16, which is expected to release sometime in 2020, will bring additional capabilities like NR-Unlicensed (NR-U), Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB), enhanced Vehicle-to-Everything (eV2X), URLLC and Industrial IoT (IIoT) enhancements, and Service Enabler Architecture Layer (SEAL) for industry verticals.

5G will enable:

  • Use of Private 5G network
  • Use of licensed, shared, and unlicensed spectrum
  • Deployment of Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN)
  • Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (uRLLC)
  • Precision Positioning

All of which will open up new possibilities for IoT use cases.

Private 5G network: Enterprises will now have the option to connect to either a public 5G network or a private 5G network. They can build their own infrastructure and outsource the operational support to an MNO or maintain their own 5G network using their own spectrum. The use of a unique network ID will allow a virtually seamless fallback to public networks.

Licensed, shared, and unlicensed spectrum: The deployment of private 5G networks is possible by sharing and using a licensed and/or unlicensed spectrum. In the licensed spectrum, MNOs have various spectrum options that they could possibly deploy in a specific area. They may use an unlicensed spectrum with asynchronous sharing using NR-U either in standalone or non-standalone modes of operation in the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands. There is the possibility to also use a dedicated regional spectrum such as the use of 3.7GHz in Germany for IIoT. In the United States, the US Federal Communications Commission has set up a three-tiered spectrum-sharing framework in 3.5 GHz for Citizens Broadband Radio Service band [CBRS]. The efficient use of the RF spectrum, which is a finite resource, now gives enterprises the flexibility and opportunity to reduce the cost of ownership.

Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN): TSN permits the deployment of fixed Ethernet and 5G networks to coexist and converge. TSN will allow 5G networks to be used for applications that are currently usually only carried over an Ethernet wireline network. Use of Deterministic networking will result in lower end-to-end latency, time synchronization, contracts between transmitters and the network, and coexistence with best-effort services.

Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (uRLLC): With uRLLC, 5G can connect controllers, switches, sensors, and actuators at latency and reliability levels equivalent to those of a wired connection. With 5G, we will have 1 millisecond latency on the radio interface and end-to-end latency from 5 to 10ms based on the application and use case. Latency on a private 5G network can be even lower than on public networks. If the core of the private 5G network is on-premise, everything can be processed locally, whereas offsite processing would entail an additional lag—of perhaps a few milliseconds if done through a telecom edge approach, and tens of milliseconds if through a more remote data center—as the data travels to the external site and back. This extremely low latency will unlock new use cases for process automation and remotely controlled devices.

Precision Positioning: 5G capabilities will support location accuracy within 10 centimeters making it possible to support activities such as precise indoor navigation and positioning. Some of the verticals for positioning use cases are E-911, 3D positioning for traffic monitoring, management, and control for smoother traffic flows to reduce commute times, virtual reality (AR) goggles and head-up displays (HUDs) that can make use of accurate positioning to superimpose contextual information on the real-world view of the user to facilitate navigation, video recording, and identification of targets. UAVs or drones can significantly benefit from precision positioning for automatic landing as well as personal or professional missions. Factory floors will see a mixed-use of fixed and mobile equipment aimed at providing optimal flexibility.

5G is significantly shaping the world around us with low latency, high capacity, and reliable connectivity; be prepared for a wild ride!

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