Simplified setup and maximized performance make 5G IoT connectivity a key part of industry growth
Most technology experts agree: 5G is the impetus that will spur innovation across industries and pave the way for technologies such as IoT to become an integral part of next-gen business. In fact, IoT Analytics predicts there will be more than 30 billion IoT connections by 2025 — more than three times the connections forecasted to exist by the end of 2022.
As IoT applications flourish, it’s helpful to understand how 5G transforms the IoT environment, the top uses cases for 5G IoT applications, and what considerations should be made to effectively support this new generation of connectivity.
How does 5G impact IoT?
In a 5G environment, cellular IoT connectivity is built on broad bandwidth, high speed, and low latency, making 5G the key to realizing the full potential of IoT applications where success lies in performance. When it comes to the speed and reliability of information sharing between IoT and other connected devices or applications, 5G provides fast, secure connectivity, even in extensive IoT ecosystems made up of thousands of devices.
5G also enables the ability to provide virtual performance and resource slices to different users — a feature known as network slicing. For example, one subset of IoT devices can be designated to an economy slice that provides the best effort at the lowest cost, while other more mission-critical applications may be tied to a high-bandwidth slice with more resources. By isolating and allocating network characteristics such as speed, latency, security services, and bandwidth to individual slices, IT managers can tailor the division of resources to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs.
Understanding IoT routers and gateways
Although the hardware requirements for IoT solutions are simple enough to accommodate day-1 connectivity, the rhetoric around cellular IoT gateways and routers can get confusing. Depending on the industry, routers and gateways may be referred to as two separate things, but when it comes to 5G IoT edge computing, these terms are typically interchangeable.
The term “gateway” is used when the central function of the hardware is connecting to a broader network. In this case, the hardware may or may not be routing traffic. In an IoT environment, the IoT gateway is the device or platform connecting sensors and devices to the cloud.
The term “router” is used when the central function of the hardware is to route traffic across broader networks such as the Internet. An IoT router is the device that’s responsible for connectivity, as well as receiving, analyzing, and forwarding traffic within the network and its corresponding devices using protocols. Protocol and computing functions can both be accomplished on a router. In the case of Cradlepoint routers, edge computing is done in a container (also known as lightweight edge computing) but may also be done on premises or with the carrier.
Exploring 5G and IoT use cases
With connectivity at the heart of transformation, all types of 5G are poised to provide unique, futuristic opportunities throughout various industries.
Autonomy and remote control
Smart manufacturing encompasses some of the top applications of 5G IoT. From the remote control of heavy machinery in hazardous environments to autonomous and collaborative robots capable of maneuvering factory floors to perform inspections and complete tasks, 5G provides the low latency connectivity needed to make these functions possible.
Often used in construction, manufacturing, and the production of cars, trains, and aircraft, a digital twin is a virtual model designed to accurately reflect a physical object based off information obtained from cameras and sensor data. These bandwidth-intensive models can be used to run simulations, analyze performance issues, and apply direct updates to the original object.
HD video streaming with artificial intelligence (AI)
Thanks to 5G connectivity with low latency and high bandwidth, video streaming with crowd detection, facial recognition, and AI-driven surveillance is no longer a thing of the future. Now, intersection cameras can survey streets to make informed decisions on adjusting traffic patterns, cameras on construction sites can scan QR codes on helmets to detect safety violations, and utility stations cameras can inspect large areas and automatically notify public safety agencies of hazards.
Speaking of 5G IoT in action, Australia-based Taylor Construction is investing in many of these solutions and more, including holographic building visualization, wide-area safety scanning, IoT structural sensing, and real-time design display.
Considerations for implementing 5G IoT solutions
The 5G IoT landscape is fertile ground for innovation, but the ability for an enterprise business to adopt a successful IoT strategy depends on a thoughtful business plan with consideration for the following:
How much bandwidth does your IoT network need?
When you buy equipment, you’re typically buying for the next 3-5 years, but the cellular broadband environment evolves at a much more rapid pace as new networks and spectrum bands are established. If you’re looking at 5G IoT applications with high bandwidth requirements, it’s vital to think about buying for the future, especially if those devices will be in a 5G area during the lifecycle of the product.
What does the security framework of your 5G IoT applications look like?
Seek out devices and routers with high-quality, enterprise-class security. They should be reliable products with verified testimonials and secure, capable management platforms.
Who is responsible for the maintenance of your IoT devices?
Remote activation, monitoring, and troubleshooting through a cloud-based router management platform can significantly reduce IT costs and increase uptime.
How much growth do you anticipate in the future?
Scalability should always be a top consideration when researching new and future solutions. Consider ease of deployment, remote management solutions, and how you’ll reduce attack surface as you add new 5G IoT sensors and devices. Take our assessment to discover how your organization can utilize the future of wireless.