The long term map for 5G IoT promises to support a density of devices far beyond what current-generation LTE can deliver up to a million “things” per square kilometer, versus almost 61,000 under today’s 4G.
President of the wireless trade group CTIA Meredith Attwell Baker at the MWC Americas trade show in 2017 “5G will make every industry and every part of our lives better”.
Executive vice president and CEO of Verizon’s consumer group Ronan Dunne said at 2019’s Web Summit conference “It’s a wholly new technology ushering in a new era of transformation”.
5G IoT will open up possibilities that today would require a horrendous amount of wired connectivity. For example, precision-controlled factories could take advantage of the space in the airwaves to implement extremely granular monitoring, and 5G IoT promises to do that job for less.
Founder Roger Entner Recon Analytics said “You can put tons of environmental sensors everywhere”.
He further said “You can put a tag on every piece of equipment.”
Senior partner with the Boston Consulting Group Rüdiger Schicht said “Either I upgrade this to fiber to connect the machines, or I use millimeter-wave 5G in the factory”.
He further said “Everything we hear on reliability and manageability of that infrastructure indicates that 5G is superior.”
Millimeter-wave 5G runs on bands of frequencies starting at 24GHz, far above the frequencies employed for LTE. The enormous amounts of free spectrum up there allow for gigabit speeds at the cost of range, which would be limited to a thousand feet or so. That still exceeds Wi-Fi’s reach, though.
Low-band 5G on the same frequencies today used for 4G doesn’t allow for a massive speed boost but should at least cover far more ground, while mid-band 5G should offer a good mix of speed and coverage at least, once carriers have more free spectrum on which to provide that coverage.
Fixing those spectrum issues hinges on the Federal Communications Commission’s recently announced plan n the United States to auction off 280MHz of so called C-band spectrum, between 3.2GHz and 3.98GHz, on a sped-up timetable that could see those bands in service in two to three years.
The current 5G standard formally speaking, 3GPP Release 15 does not include support for the enormous device density we’re talking about. That will have to wait until Release 16, now in its final stages of approval, although Entner warns that we won’t see compatible hardware for at least another year or two.