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March 20, 2023

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How 5G Benefits the Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT  |  Mobile Brands  |  Product

In this article, we define 5G, discuss its advantages over its predecessors, look at how it benefits the Internet of Things (IoT), and go over 5G IoT use cases in smart cities, industrial automation, autonomous vehicles, healthcare, and agriculture.

Over the last couple decades, the telecommunications industry has spawned numerous groundbreaking technologies. Apple’s iPhone lead to the emergence of the mobile app and game economy; Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) have delivered unique, affordable mobile services to niche markets; and SMS and other direct messaging solutions have established themselves as being among the most popular and affordable communication tools on the planet.

However, in this article, we wanted to turn our attention to the industry’s most recent innovation: 5G. More specifically, we wanted to touch on the advantages of 5G for IoT. Here’s what we’ll cover:


What Is 5G?

Let’s begin with the basics. 5G stands for fifth-generation mobile network. It follows in the footsteps of previous iterations, appropriately named 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G. But 5G promises to be vastly more powerful than its predecessors. Here’s a summary from Qualcomm:

  • First Generation (1980s): 1G delivered analog voice.
  • Second Generation (1990s): 2G introduced digital voice.
  • Third Generation (2000s): 3G brought mobile data.
  • Fourth Generation (2010s): 4G ushered in the era of mobile broadband.

The comes 5G, which offers faster and more reliable wireless communications than previous technologies, with higher data transfer rates, lower latency, and greater capacity to support large numbers of devices. 5G’s extended capacity will be critical in enabling next-generation user experiences, empowering new deployment models, and delivering new services.

Compared with 4G — which emphasizes download and upload speeds — 5G provides a more comprehensive set of features. Among them are enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC), and massive machine-type communications (mMTC). These features are expected to enable a wide range of new applications and use cases in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), autonomous vehicles, remote surgery, smart cities, and more.


5G Frequency Bands and Spectrum Allocations

5G operates on low, mid, and high radio frequency bands. However, the specific bands used may vary depending on the country and the network operator. In any case, here’s a brief overview of 5G frequency bands and spectrum allocations, along with the pros and cons for each:

  • Low-band 5G operates on frequencies below 1 GHz, typically in the range of 600 MHz to 900 MHz. These bands offer wide coverage and can penetrate walls and other obstacles, making them ideal for use in rural areas and indoors.
  • Mid-band 5G operates on frequencies between 1 GHz and 6 GHz, typically in the range of 2.5 GHz to 3.7 GHz. These bands offer faster data transfer speeds than low-band 5G, but with less coverage.
  • High-band 5G operates on frequencies above 24 GHz, also known as millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies. These bands offer extremely fast data transfer speeds but have limited coverage and are easily blocked by obstacles such as buildings and trees. They are primarily used in dense urban areas.

As noted, some countries and operators may set aside other frequency bands for 5G. For example, unlicensed 5 GHz band is often used for high-speed Wi-Fi.


Expectations for 5G Are High

While 5G was first launched in 2019, widespread adoption of 5G is expected to arrive closer to 2025. And the expectations are high. Many anticipate that 5G, and the services and technologies it enables, will change the way people live and work. This is because it’s substantially faster than previous generations of mobile networks and can handle far more connected devices, opening up a world of possibilities for entrepreneurs and industry stalwarts alike.

But when we say 5G is faster than its antecedents, we’re burying the lede a bit. According to the wireless industry trade group GSMA, 5G will be at least 10 times faster than 4G. And, from what some experts are saying, it could be up to 100 times faster! Not too shabby.

5G will also come with lower latency. This means it’ll have greater capacity for remote execution, connected devices, and the implementation of virtual networks (also called Network Slicing). As such, 5G will be able to provide more diverse and sophisticated connectivity experiences that cater to highly specialized IoT use cases, from transportation, to remote healthcare, precision agriculture, digitized logistics, and more.


The Impact of 5G on IoT

While there are already approximately 30 billion IoT devices connected around the globe, billions more are expected to come online in short order. Indeed, a 2020 IDC report predicts that there will be approximately 75 billion connected devices by 2025. However, 5G’s superior speed and capacity are critical to helping the IoT industry meet and surpass this mark.

Current estimates say that 5G networks will offer speeds in the ball park of 15 to 20 Gbps. The folks over at IoT Solutions point out that this will enable users and devices to access files, programs, and remote applications without waiting. In addition, they note that 5G will make it possible for devices to leverage the cloud more effectively, reducing dependency on internal memory and the accumulation of data.

And because 5G has lower latency than its predecessors, applications that demand quick response times are now officially on the table. This means new experiences and opportunities associated with multiplayer mobile gaming, sophisticated factory robots and machinery, self-driving vehicles, and more.

In addition, 5G will be able to accommodate more devices operating on the same network. This will impact IoT deployments across the spectrum, from smart devices operating inside homes, offices, and other commercial and private residences, to those comprising sophisticated Smart City solutions and services.


The Benefits of 5G for IoT

More concretely, 5G benefits IoT in seven critical ways:

  • Increased Capacity: 5G networks are designed to handle a large number of devices, which is ideal for IoT deployments where a large number of sensors and devices need to communicate with each other.
  • Lower Latency: 5G’s lower latency means that IoT devices can communicate with each other and the cloud more quickly, which is important for time-sensitive applications such as industrial automation and self-driving cars.
  • Faster Speeds: 5G’s faster speeds enable faster data transfer rates for IoT devices, which is important for applications that require large amounts of data to be transferred quickly, such as video surveillance and remote monitoring.
  • Improved Reliability: 5G’s increased reliability ensures that IoT devices can always stay connected, even in areas with poor network coverage.
  • Network Slicing: 5G also enables single networks to be divided into multiple virtual networks, or slices, with their own specific characteristics and requirements. These subnetworks are self-contained and can be optimized for a specific applications or use cases, such as industrial automation, autonomous vehicles, or remote surgery.
  • Edge Computing: 5G’s support for edge computing enables IoT devices to process and analyze data locally, reducing latency and improving efficiency.
  • Energy Efficiency: 5G’s energy-efficient network design helps to extend the battery life of IoT devices, which is important for applications such as remote monitoring and asset tracking.


5G IoT Use Cases

Finally, to give you an idea of specific improvements and efficiencies delivered by 5G-powered IoT deployments, let’s look at five industries: Smart City, Industrial Automation, Autonomous Vehicles, Healthcare, and Agriculture.


5G IoT for Smart Cities

5G networks can support a variety of smart city applications, such as traffic management, environmental monitoring, and public safety. With 5G, smart city infrastructure can communicate in real-time, allowing for more efficient and effective management of city resources.

Are you developing an IoT solution for smart cities? Learn how Syntegra can help!


5G IoT for Industrial Automation

5G’s low latency and high reliability make it ideal for industrial automation applications, such as factory automation, robotic manufacturing, and remote control of heavy machinery. With 5G, industrial systems can be controlled in real-time, allowing for greater efficiency and safety.

Are you developing an IoT solution for industrial automation? Learn how Syntegra can help!


5G IoT for Autonomous Vehicles

5G networks can support the real-time communication and data transfer required for autonomous vehicles, such as self-driving cars and drones. With 5G, vehicles can communicate with each other and with the surrounding infrastructure in real-time, allowing for safer and more efficient transportation.

Are you developing autonomous or connected vehicle solutions? Learn how Syntegra can help!


5G IoT for Healthcare

5G networks can support a variety of healthcare applications, such as remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, and surgical robotics. With 5G, doctors can perform surgeries remotely and monitor patients in real-time, allowing for more efficient and effective healthcare.

Are you developing an IoT solution for the healthcare industry? Learn how Syntegra can help!


5G IoT for Agriculture

5G networks can support precision agriculture applications, such as soil monitoring, irrigation management, and livestock tracking. With 5G, farmers can monitor and manage their crops and livestock in real-time, allowing for more efficient and sustainable farming practices.

Are you developing an IoT solution for the agricultural sector? Learn how Syntegra can help!


Want to Learn More About the Internet of Things?

We’d love to walk you through the basics! At Syntegra, we offer IoT connectivity solutions that leverage world-class cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Our patented SmartConnect technology will even manage and secure IoT connections and provide actionable device connectivity insights.

Challenges concerning security, interoperability, costs, local knowledge, and storage make it difficult to take IoT solutions to market. At Syntegra, we provide all the IoT connectivity components necessary for manufacturers and OEMs to build connected products that maximize the benefits of IoT.

To learn more, be sure to reach out to our team!


About Syntegra

Syntegra connects people and devices around the world using secure, ubiquitous, and highly scalable Wi-Fi and cellular solutions to deliver data, voice, video, media, and more. 

We empower enterprises, CSPs, ISPs, MNOs, MVNOs, early-stage innovators, developers, IoT solutions builders, and countless others with the freedom and control to create, deliver, and scale innovative communications experiences. 

For more information about Syntegra’s connectivity solutions, set up a meeting!