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How is 5G affecting the future of IoT?

What is 5G?

5G is the latest generation of cellular connectivity that is currently being rolled out across the world. As an upgrade from 4G, it delivers all the benefits of 4G connectivity along with a number of additional features and improved performance. However, it’s important to know that the roll out of 5G is having a big effect on existing IoT deployments using 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity. Find out why devices need to switch to 5G and what the benefits are below.

5G is more reliable and much faster than the 4G connectivity most of us are used to. That’s why it is being utilised by a wide range of devices and industries all over the world, including connected cars, mobile phones, smart cities, and smart homes. To support such a large improvement in service, 5G uses a wide range of radio frequencies, allowing it to utilise a number of connectivity options.

Why are IoT devices migrating to 5G?

The main reason businesses are exploring 5G as an option for their IoT deployments is the performance benefits its brings. However, another big factor driving businesses towards 5G in IoT is the 2G and 3G sunset. With the 2G and 3G networks due to be completely phased out, it makes sense for companies to bite the bullet and upgrade to 5G to futureproof their deployments.

When it comes to migrating your IoT services over to 5G, some devices may need to be adapted or replaced by 5G compatible hardware. Whilst in some situations this can be a costly investment, all businesses utilising 2G and 3G technology will ultimately be forced to find a suitable alternative, sooner rather than later.

5G has already been implemented in many IoT systems around the world, but there are countless more solutions that would benefit from 5G IoT connectivity. Here are just a few examples of how it will impact the future of IoT:

What are the advantages of 5G in IoT?

To help you understand the benefits of 5G in IoT, we’ve split them into four categories: latency, speed, network and capacity.

Latency measures how long it takes for a device to respond to a request or an action, usually in milliseconds. Having a lower latency means that data can transfer at a higher speed. 5G solutions boast latencies as low as 1ms, which is almost real time. If latency becomes too high, it can impact solutions such as remote working and cause lagging or buffering issues. In certain industries, low latency can be the difference between life-or-death. For example, in healthcare, a person’s medical status could rely on IoT technology to be transmitted to carers. If there is too much latency and lag, it could impact the time it takes for a patient to receive life-saving care.

When we talk about speed, we are referring to how fast data can be traversed between two or more devices. 5G out-performs all the previous generations of cellular connectivity, reaching speeds of up to 20Gbps (10 times faster than 4G). Speed is also a determining factor in how reliable the connection between two or more devices is. If speeds are constantly fluctuating, then this can make for an unreliable connection. Faster speeds grant you a better and more efficient experience when deploying and managing IoT solutions.

It’s been noted that by 2030 there will be over 50 billion active IoT devices worldwide. Unsurprisingly, the existing mobile networks that we currently use don’t have the sufficient infrastructure to support this monumental number of devices. Due to this, 5G is being implemented around the globe whilst 2G and 3G connectivity approaches EOL (end of life). This is because it has 100 times more traffic capacity than its predecessors, meaning it’s a great solution to support the exponential rise of IoT devices.

How is 5G currently used in IoT?

Although the consumer solution was developed using the M2M solution as a starting platform, it follows a client driven model that focusses on end-user managed devices. In the consumer solution, end-users are responsible for managing their own connectivity via the UI on their mobile devices. There are four key elements that enable remote SIM provisioning in a consumer environment:

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