Second, third and fourth generation mobile networks are currently being used in various sectors for IoT applications. From factory production monitoring, vehicle diagnosis and monitoring in transportation to digital signage and customer tracking in commerce; Internet of Things increases efficiency, reduces downtimes and lowers costs. With the introduction of 5G, Internet of Things will play an even more dominant role in many industries. Before we go into detail about 5G, its categories, applications and features, let’s take a brief look back.
From 1G to 3G
The analog 1G was launched in Scandinavia in 1981. This so-called NMT network offered international roaming and was mainly used for the first mobile (car) telephones. In the 1990s, 1G was replaced by 2G (GSM, GPRS and EDGE). In addition to calling, these second-generation mobile networks were also suitable for sending and receiving text messages and the Internet at a low speed. Moreover, 2G was the first network that could also allow equipment to communicate with each other. Around 2001, 3G (UMTS, HSDPA and HSDPA+) could be used in the Netherlands for calling, texting and data. This technology not only had a wider range than 2G but also offered a higher speed.
In 2010, 3G slowly started making way for 4G technology LTE (Long Term Evolution). This network offers great opportunities for both consumers and businesses, particularly in terms of bandwidth and speed. The network is very suitable for data, mobile internet with a higher speed and IoT applications. For example, NB-IoT and LTE-M use the LTE network.
Outdated, or not?
The rollout of 5G suggests that 2G is now obsolete. However, this is not quite the case. The network is still worldwide widely used for IoT applications. For example, 2G is used by network operators (smart meters) and emergency services (communication).
5G: a giant leap
Faster, more reliable and less delay
While 4G was developed with smartphones in mind, 5G (New Radio) will become a pre-eminent network for IoT applications. It not only offers faster speeds and more capacity, but also less delay between transmitting and receiving (latency). As a result, telephones, vehicles, robots and other smart devices can also use 5G. Within this network, the mobile services are classified into three categories: eMBB, uRLLC and mMTC.
Enhanced Mobile Broadband focuses on services that place high demands on bandwidth. eMBB is therefore suitable for:
- Virtual Reality (VR)
- Augmented Reality (AR)
- work in the cloud
- video surveillance
- streaming HD videos
Ultra-Reliable & Low-Latency Communications is a 5G variant that focuses on latency-sensitive services. The technique is well applicable in:
- self-driving cars
- healthcare (eHealth)
- industry 4.0
Massive Machine Type Communications focuses on services that place high demands on connection density. This category includes the LPWA technologies NB-IoT and LTE-M with nodes / sensors. Good to use in:
- smart cities
- smart buildings
- smart farming
- smart factories
Auction and roll-out of the frequency bands
5G can technically be used within existing frequency bands (for example in combination with 4G). Some providers offer 5G over the 1800 MHz frequency on which they also offer 4G. Technically speaking, a 5G device has access to 5G, although the speed is not much higher than 4G.
The European Union has designated 700 megahertz, 3.5 gigahertz and 26 gigahertz for the rollout of 5G in Europe. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy opened the auction for the 700 MHz frequency on 29 June 2020. In 2022, the 3.5 gigahertz frequency will be auctioned. later on followed by the 26 GHz frequency.
The difference between these frequencies is mainly in the range and the bandwidth. It is therefore wise to take the frequencies into account when developing IoT applications.
Low frequencies, such as 700 MHz, have a long range, which means fewer antennas are needed. This band is therefore most suitable for achieving national coverage for many users with little data transfer. This makes it extremely suitable for IoT applications in smart energy meters and agriculture. The 700 MHz band is less suitable for applications with a high data rate.
The 3.5 GHz band offers more bandwidth than the 700 MHz. This band is best suited for applications that require a high data rate and good coverage. The 3.5 GHz frequency is therefore suitable for many business and consumer applications where high demands are made on, for example, image quality such as Virtual Reality, HR video and 360-degree video. However, the signal is blocked more quickly by walls and windows, making coverage in buildings more difficult to achieve. Because the range of the antennas is smaller than with the 700 MHz band, more antennas are also needed.
26 GHz band
26 GHz band works best with many base stations. As a result, this band is actually unsuitable for creating a nationwide network. The frequency is suitable for applications where high data rates are required. For example, think of dozens of wireless video cameras in large public areas (stadiums and stations).
It is not yet certain whether this frequency band will be available in the Netherlands. The government is investigating whether it is worth opening up 26 GHz to 5G.
5G Massive MIMO
Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) can be used to increase efficiency within frequencies. With this technique, the signals are directed at devices and users in the form of small beams, allowing it to provide up to six times the bandwidth per user. Massive MIMO is therefore mainly used in areas where many users need the bandwidth.
Internet of Things & 5G
Low Power Wide Area
LPWA is a wireless communication technology specially developed for IoT applications. Characteristic for LPWA is a low energy consumption (batteries) and a large range. The development also took into account cheap hardware, low bandwidth and the ability to connect millions of devices. Both NB-IoT and LTE-M use the 4G networks in terms of security, infrastructure and range. However, 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the standards organization within the telecom industry, has already indicated that LPWA technologies NB-IoT and LTE-M will continue to exist in the future and will be further developed within 5G.
Internet of Things is an LPWA technology that is extremely suitable for industrial (large-scale) applications in, for example, buildings, factories and agriculture. NB-IoT combines good coverage with a long range. The signal cannot be blocked by thick walls, which means that underground applications are also possible. Another great advantage is that it connects many devices together and the batteries of the sensors last a long time (10+ years). On the other hand, NB-IoT has a low bandwidth. This makes it impossible to send a lot of data in a short time.
- no collisions
- Good permeability
- Battery powered nodes
- Not real time
- Provider needed
- No worldwide coverage
- Not real time
- Provider needed
- No worldwide coverage
Long Term Evolution for Machines enables long-distance data traffic between devices and the internet at low power consumption. This technology gives more bandwidth compared to NB-IoT and has a longer reach in buildings. LTE-M is capable of transmitting information on a frequent basis at a lower speed. The great advantage of LTE-M is that it enables real-time information transfer, making the technique suitable for use in moving objects.
- real time
- Long Distance Voice and SMS
- Provider needed
Source: Delmation Products