5G: The Catalyst for Internet of Things Innovation

NetWorkWorld.com, Vikrant Gandhi | Apr. 13, 2018

5G represents a fundamental shift in communication network architectures. It promises to accelerate future revenue generation through innovative services facilitated via 5G-enabled devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and Internet-of-Things (IoT). 5G deployments are envisioned as a complex amalgamation of next-generation technological enhancements to telecommunication networks, which will help 5G become the catalyst for next-generation IoT services.

Examples of such innovations include: 1) advanced modulation schemes for wireless access, 2) network slicing capabilities, 3) automated network application lifecycle management, 4) software-defined networking and network function virtualization, and 5) support for cloud-optimized distributed network applications.

In fact, for IoT services to be deployed at scale efficiently, 5G’s critical benefits are essential. These include improved network speeds and capacity, reduced communication latency and flexible service delivery models.

5G benefits for IoT

The mere mention of ‘5G’ can conjure an image of ultra-high-speed wireless broadband services delivered to fixed and mobile devices, officially termed enhanced Mobile Broadband or eMBB. However, what gets me most excited is the long-term vision of 5G, which includes massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) and Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC). Together, these enhancements can help transform industries with ultra- available, low latency links.

Below are the various ways 5G will play a role in supporting next-generation IoT services in some key industry verticals.

Automotive

One of the primary use cases of 5G will be connected cars coupled with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Enhanced vehicular communication services will include both direct communication (between vehicles, vehicle to pedestrian, and vehicle to infrastructure) and network-facilitated communication for autonomous driving. Use cases supported will focus on vehicle convenience and safety, including intent sharing, path planning, coordinated driving, and real-time local updates.

Industrial

5G will not only offer a more reliable network but would also deliver an extremely secure network for industrial IoT by integrating security into the core network architecture. Industrial facilities will be among the major users of private 5G networks.

Healthcare

The requirement for real-time networks will be achieved using 5G which will significantly transform the healthcare industry. Use cases include live transmission of high-definition surgery videos that can be remotely monitored.

Communications backhaul

Communication service providers will look to replace their fiber network using wireless broadband. This will significantly drop the costs incurred in laying fiber optic cables for home broadband usage.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality – AR/VR will revolutionize customer experience in gaming, retail shopping, and other customer-centric applications. Consumer experience will be enhanced as high data rates, and extremely low latency are achieved.

A growth-oriented regulatory environment

The Trump administration’s decision to block Broadcom’s $117 billion bid for Qualcomm, citing national security risks, illustrated that the U.S. government realizes the importance of establishing and maintaining 5G leadership. The risk of weakening Qualcomm’s technological leadership in 5G standards development and standardization was one factor, and the possibility of disrupting the trusted supply relationship between the U.S. Government and Qualcomm was another factor. It showed that the “America first” definitely applies to 5G.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to enact growth-oriented regulations to support 5G services. It is focused on reducing the regulatory barriers to deployments of new facilities for wireless broadband. For example, the evaluation of the impact of proposed deployments on the environment and historic properties has been streamlined for small cell deployments.

The FCC has made relevant spectrum available for operators to deploy high-speed broadband wireless networks (for example, the 600 MHz spectrum) and continues to work to release additional unlicensed, mid-band and mmWave spectrum available for 5G.