The New Dawn of 5G

KORE
The New Dawn of 5G

Welcome to the new era of 5G, a transformative leap in technology that is unprecedentedly reshaping our world. As we stand on the brink of this revolution, it’s crucial to understand the profound impact 5G is having on various industries and our daily lives.

What is 5G?

5G, or the fifth generation of mobile networks, represents a significant upgrade from previous generations. It is designed to provide the following:

  • Blazing Fast Speeds: 5G offers speeds up to 10 Gbps, far surpassing the capabilities of 4G. This means faster downloads, seamless streaming, and more efficient communication.
  • Ultra-Low Latency: With latency as low as 1 millisecond, 5G enables real-time interactions, which are crucial for applications like autonomous driving, remote surgery, and virtual reality.
  • Massive Device Connectivity: 5G can support up to 1 million devices per square kilometer, making it ideal for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.
  • Enhanced Reliability: Improved network reliability ensures consistent performance for critical applications.
  • Energy Efficiency: 5G is more energy-efficient, supporting sustainable operations and longer device battery life.

Difference Between 5G and 4G

There are a few key differences between 5G and 4G. 4G was a tremendous advancement in cellular data capabilities, converting the core network to a fully packet-based architecture that cultivated huge advancements at the time:

  • It enabled high-definition video over cellular.
  • It ushered in the initial use of cellular for wireless broadband.
  • It consolidated the use of a common network infrastructure (as opposed to 3G supporting both GSM and CDMA).

However, 4G was a one-size-fits-all technology, focusing on general improvements of existing cellular capabilities. In contrast, 5G not only greatly enhances cellular technology but also focuses on solving specific use cases, especially those centered around IoT. This focus has made possible new business models, including the following:

  • The ability to saturate an area with devices/sensors, increasing data used to make decisions.
  • Creating new business models using bespoke cellular network offerings through network slicing (e.g., creating isolated network segments for different applications with specific performance needs).
  • Supporting low power consumption models that extend the life of IoT devices, reducing the waste associated with frequently replacing devices.

5G is a significant step forward in cellular capabilities with a particular focus on IoT applications. It serves as a toolkit from which IoT solutions can draw to create operational efficiencies and enhance the quality of life.

Massive IoT and Its Significance

Massive IoT defines applications that are low cost and low energy, continuously serving small amounts of data, frequently or infrequently, to the cloud. These are being deployed with 4G today using NB-IoT and LTE-M. However, predictions suggest there will be over 30 billion IoT devices before the end of this decade. 4G capacities will likely be limited, driving the need for the extended capabilities derived from the 5G toolkit.

The primary keys to deploying Massive IoT are as follows:

  • Low Cost and Low Energy: Ensuring IoT devices are affordable and energy-efficient.
  • Scalability and Versatility: Supporting a large number of devices and varied applications.

IoT applications and deployments have long been driven by the cost of the devices. Once a device technology becomes economically feasible, the market accelerates. This happened with the transition from 3G to 4G, and now the same with 4G to 5G. With much higher scale, improved energy management, and multiple methods of managing security such as private networks and network slicing, the primary blockers are no longer in place, allowing prolific use of IoT.

The 5G architects understood these requirements and have built the standards to include existing technologies such as NB-IoT to help facilitate the current drawbacks of coverage ubiquity. Massive IoT enables and improves a number of key use cases:

  • Smart Cities: Enhancing urban infrastructure management and services.
  • Wearables: Improving personal health and fitness monitoring.
  • Smart Manufacturing: Increasing efficiency and reducing downtime in industrial processes.

Challenges of 5G-Powered IoT

While 5G holds immense potential, its adoption is not without challenges.

Security

With so many devices connected, the attack surface becomes quite large and distributed. Traditionally, security is provided through the use of IPSec VPNs that are encrypted from device to cloud. However, more devices are connecting directly to the internet to reduce latency, congestion, and costs. Many low-cost devices lack the sophisticated routing encryption required to support VPNs and prevent brute force and other types of attacks. One method provided in the standards is IoT SAFE, which aims to enhance security for IoT devices.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure isn’t ubiquitous due to deployment costs and return on investment considerations. 4G will be around at least through this decade. One way to overcome this is to leverage private-public deployments where smaller private networks augment the required coverage, capacity, and most importantly, security. Spectrum flexibility, using both licensed and lightly licensed spectrums such as CBRS (in the US), can help achieve a 5G model without requiring the expensive spectrum managed by government entities.

Despite these challenges, the future of 5G looks promising. As the technology matures and more infrastructure is deployed, we can expect to see even more innovative applications and a broader impact on society.

Author
KORE
KORE
KORE, the global leader in IoT, helps simplify the complexity of IoT with streamlined, comprehensive solutions to empower organizations to deploy, manage, and scale IoT.
KORE, the global leader in IoT, helps simplify the complexity of IoT with streamlined, comprehensive solutions to empower organizations to deploy, manage, and scale IoT.