What Does 5G Mean For the Internet of Things?

5G is easily one of the most talked about topics in tech-talk and is definitely worth all the hype its getting. 5G is the fifth generation in wireless technology and will impact the wireless communication we’ve all come to know. 5G will deliver a better network capacity, blazing-fast speeds and a ultra-low latency that will power a world of new possibilities and connect essentially everything around us. One of the most exciting things 5G will do, is power the Internet of Things (IoT). How exactly? We’ll explain what 5G means for the Internet of Things.

5G is going to be unbelievably faster than the best version of 4G LTE. 5G can deliver estimated peak speeds of up to 20 Gbps with a one millisecond latency. When compared to 4G LTE, which can reach up to peak speeds of 1 Gbps and a 20-millisecond latency. That’s twenty times faster!

Another highly-anticipated feature of 5G is the increased data transfer capacity. In our current world, just about everything is connected to a network. Your phone, security systems, watch, tablet, TV- and the list just goes on and on. There was a recent study by Gartner, that estimates that there will be 20.4 BILLION connected devices in our world by 2020. The downside? Our current wireless infrastructure doesn’t have the network capacity to support all of those devices without a huge dip in performance.

What makes 5G worth all the hype is that it utilizes a multi-band spectrum strategy and the use of mmWave technology to not only boost high speeds and lower latency, but it improves network capacity so devices can connect through various parts of the spectrum, rather than everything being on just one. For example, if you think of 4G as a two-lane highway, you’re driving amongst a mix of small cars, trucks and eighteen wheelers all going the same direction. Some vehicles take up more of the road than others and can cause small back-ups or slow down traffic- especially if they’re carrying huge loads. 5G is like opening an additional third lane. It will provide room for more cars to travel so there is less traffic and congestion on the road so cars can drive faster. This example is important for understanding 5G’s impact on IoT because with so many devices needing to be connected, performance can suffer because there isn’t enough data capacity for the signal to travel efficiently.

IoT is built on a world of interconnected devices working in real-time and is dependent on continuous data transfers, thus making a need for consistent and constant data, which can be very draining on the networks bandwidth. Because 5G will deliver an improved network capacity and all around better performance with increased speeds and latency, you will see IoT become a more prevalent part of your life from the way you live in your home, to the outside world- all because of the power of 5G.

5G will power an increase in smarter technology across various industries and it’s exciting to see what services and applications it will bring. According to Telit, there are a number of industries that will benefit from the 5G IoT enhancements. These industries are:  

  • Automotive and Transportation
  • Smart Factories
  • Smart Buildings
  • Smart Cities
  • Smart Utilities
  • Security and Surveillance
  • Agriculture
  • Retail
  • Healthcare
  • Aerospace

If you’ve ever wondering what it would be like to have autonomous cars as the new norm, you won’t have to much longer with 5G. With 5G, driverless cars will become more than just an idea you see in the movies, it will become a reality. One of the biggest issues with self-driving cars has been the important need for consistent communication with its surroundings. Self-driving cars need to be able to communicate with traffic lights, roadways and other cars around them through the sensors (IoT) in real-time. Autonomous cars will depend heavily on a 5G network because 5G can support the high-speed data transfers, millisecond low latency and network capacity needed for these futuristic cars because there can be absolutely no delay in signal.

The medical industry will see a huge leap in technology made possible by 5G. Virtual doctor visits are almost the norm now, but if you think outside the box to wearable medical devices, or surgery that can be performed across continents, 5G has endless and life-saving applications for the medical industry. Both ideas rely on instantaneous data feedback- something that 5G can deliver on.

The bane of some’s existence is sitting in traffic and a long commute because of it. 5G can actually help you sit in traffic less- we’re not kidding! With sensors placed around cities to measure real-time traffic conditions, they can relay that information back to traffic lights to help with the flow of traffic, rather than cities depending on timed traffic lights. And as if that wasn’t cool enough the decrease in cars on the road for long periods of time will help improve your city’s air quality, so it’s a win, win!

If you’ve thought about what it would be like to be in a smart home, you won’t have to wait too long because of the IoT devices that can be implemented into your home. Your home could be more energy efficient with sensors that can regulate its own temperature based on the number of people home, number of appliances, or other measurable factors- completely optimizing how you use power.

We could go on and on about all the cool IoT services and applications that 5G will help power. Widespread 5G coverage will take years to rollout because carriers will have to invest heavily in an infrastructure overhaul, in addition to new equipment builds. As 5G beings to roll out, there are no doubts the significant impact it will have on IoT and the great impact it will have on a number of industries, businesses, and our societies.