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How Does 5G Impact IoT Devices?

Uday Parida

The Digital Age has seen much advancement, but the most prominent development remains the Internet of Things (IoT). While many digital trends were already in place before the pandemic struck, 2020 has seen a rapid acceleration into digital transformation. Against this backdrop arrives the 5G solution. Its potential is to transform data centre services through faster connections and execution of data-intensive technologies (like Augmented Reality) on a scale larger than previously attempted.

As 5G technology companies race to rollout compatible devices, the latest estimates suggest that by the year 2024, 5G networks will have covered a major market. It is also expected that around 40 percent of mobile phones sold in the year 2021 will be 5G devices.

In the past, mobile networks offered range but lacked bandwidth, while Wi-Fi offered bandwidth but not range. The 5G solution currently appears to be the only thing that can provide both, enhancing mobile bandwidth and enabling IoT to network more devices at once, making 5G quite the game-changer. To get a better understanding of this, let us first examine what IoT devices are.

What are IoT Devices?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is built up of computing devices equipped with the technology that enables them to communicate over the internet, extending their range to devices that are not internet-enabled. The wide set of IoT devices range from smart TVs and intelligent appliances to smart sensors that can run diagnostics, provide vital information, can be remotely controlled and managed. IoT hardware can be embedded into various devices such as environmental sensors, industrial and medical equipment, providing valuable assistance and insights to users.

How 5G Could Enhance IoT

The effect of 5G on IoT depends on the use case. 5G brings with it faster data throughput, the ability to drive automation by connecting large numbers of devices and machines with minimal human interference, and is optimized to handle high volume data with minimal delay, all critical attributes with the potential to transform communications. Here are some ways in which 5G could have a significant impact on IoT:

  • 5G’s increased bandwidth would allow multiple devices to connect and be managed at once, which could help digitize industrial spaces.
  • The low latency of 5G, though dependent on the individual requirement of applications, remains very relevant to IoT.
  • 5G’s wireless tech could eliminate the need for cabled technologies (through which IoT devices are mostly connected) by allowing multiple sensors’ deployment without the need for cables and conduits.

Network Slicing

One of the unique features of 5G technology, network slicing, is creating and assigning traffic priorities in the event of a network reaching capacity to offer a smooth and seamless performance. Through network slicing, subnets created in virtual networks can carry different traffic priorities, giving importance to prioritized transmissions. Dedicated resource blocks constructed through network slicing will allow for the maintenance of specified performance thresholds within each network slice. When 5G network slicing is combined with IoT, it empowers organizations with several actions running simultaneously, without compromising quality or speed.

Superiority Over 4G

Thus far, 5G network emulators have already proved 5G’s superiority over its predecessor such as 4G network emulator. Network emulators assess the performance of applications in test networks ticking off various factors such as bandwidth, degree of packet loss, etc., and form an integral part of the research into any technology.

The 5G technology companies leading this research include Samsung, Huawei, LG, Ericsson, and Nokia, to name a few. These 5G technology companies and others in the running, have listed out the application areas for 5G, ranging from healthcare to safety and surveillance, and extending into the automotive industry and workplace technologies. Be adequate to say it is going to be everywhere.

5G vs. Wi-Fi

The biggest challenge to Wi-Fi remains its limited range. Not to mention its reliability, which is usually affected when interference occurs as a result of the deployment of systems across unlicensed bands? While Wi-Fi 6 brings some changes, such as resource allocation by splicing the spectrum, it still does not solve the problem when the spectrum itself becomes the cause for interference. A thorough consideration of one’s requirements in terms of network performance can help determine the choice between Wi-Fi and 5G.

Promoting Further Use of IoT Devices

We have hardly scratched the real surface of the possibilities that could be created by IoT devices powered by 5G. 5G’s ability to transform businesses is vast, with its potential extending to situations that are currently undeveloped. But the one thing that is for certain is that 5G would cause massive growth in the use of IoT devices in the market.

IoT devices connected via a 5G network provide a shot in the arm for augmented and virtual reality with zero lag. Important verticals such as healthcare, education, and retail would benefit significantly from IoT devices powered by 5G.

Moving Forward

In its later releases, 5G would arrive with the ability to support considerably more devices in its coverage area. Its mid and low-band spectrum can transmit across vast areas, covering more spaces than Wi-Fi, which is no small feat.

On the whole, 5G is poised to speed up the process to drive automation in different domains. Through an increased number of IoT devices, scale-up sensor density leads to the evolution of newer technologies and the expansion of digital interconnectedness.

We at Simnovus provide a helping hand to NEMs and mobile network operators to address the issues they face by offering cost-effective test and measurement solutions.

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