What Is 5G IoT?
The Internet of Things, commonly referred toby the acronym IoT, refers to a network of physical devices, often just simple sensors that are capable of wirelessly connecting to one another without human intervention for the purpose of exchanging data with other devices and systems.
5G wireless is often thought to be an ideal solution for IoT networks due to characteristics such as low latency performance even in high density deployments and very large coverage area capabilities, especially in mid band spectrum operation. These capabilities can maximize the potential of IoT for the following use cases in the enterprise when private 5G implementations take advantage of private spectrum options such as CBRS in theUnited States:
- Smart Manufacturing Lines
- Automated Warehouse Applications
- Transportation Services
- Digital Healthcare Applications
- Smart Cities and Remote Learning
5G networks provide dramatic improvements in speed, latency and reliability over previous generations of cellular wireless connectivity options for IoT infrastructures. 5G will pave the way for entirely new IoT technologies and services as well. On the technical side, 5G is capable of using low, mid, and high spectrum bands with public and private use options– to provide consistent coverage from rural farmlands to busy inner cities to enterprise facilities.
Low bands transmit on the 600MHz frequency, covering hundreds of square miles. While this is the slowest of the three bands, it provides the widest range of coverage. Low-band access is vital forIoT sensors in agriculture, remote mining sites, oil fields, and wind farms.
The mid band is the most widely used band of5G and provides a balanced mix of range and speed for networks, sensors, and devices. Operating in the sub-6GHz range, mid-band spectrum is popular across the enterprise due to increasing number of availability for private spectrum options, such as CBRS in the United States. Mid-band 5G helps businesses communicate with sensors and devices across their enterprise campus, by utilizing the emerging 5G LAN technology to support secure access to private applications.
The high band provides faster speeds at the cost of range. Also known as the mmWave, the high band allows for super-fast connectivity and ultra-low latency for applications close to their data source.Densely populated cities use high-band 5G to provide ultra-fast service to the surrounding area, usually under 500 meters. Both businesses and smart cities can use the high band for ultra-low latency applications, such as autonomous vehicle control and robotics.
The good news is you don’t have to pick a single band to operate on. 5G IoT uses all bands to communicate with both the wide area network (WAN) and the local area network (LAN). Enterprises choose which bands to operate based on the reliability requirements of each device and how far away it is from cellular infrastructure.
5G IoT Today
5G connectivity promises to deliver a low latency operation for critical applications in the enterprise, allowing for near-instantaneous communication across a network. Organizations can freely build their own mobile networks using the Citizens Broadband Radio Service(CBRS) spectrum band to support private operations completely independent of commercial carriers or public infrastructure.
The combination of performance and reliability – due to interference-free operation, service level agreement (SLA) policies on wireless, among others – has created the interest from enterprise organizations, many of which are becoming early adopters of 5G IoT. Today, businesses use 5G to communicate with IoT sensors in smart factories, connected hospitals, transportation facilities, and more. Common infrastructure components across smart cities such as fixed wireless access and customer premise equipment (CPE) are now also compatible with high-speed 5G connections.
Improvements 5G IoT Will Bring
While 5G public networks aren't as ubiquitous as 4G public networks, they are quickly catching up. And this is driving significant investment and growth within the 5G device ecosystem. In the future, as 5G becomes more widely available, businesses and entire cities will have even more opportunities to improve their services and communication.
While 4G provides exceptional download speeds and capacity, it lacks the requirements to support emerging technologies that demand greater capacity at lower latencies. When compared to current 4G LTE, 5G offers the following:
- Ten times reduction in latency at <10 ms roundtrip
- One hundred times increase incapacity, for high density deployments
- Ten times the throughput, with peak rates beyond 1 Gbps
What this translates to is an environment poised to allow wide-scale IoT services to thrive, providing the foundation for completely new services and unprecedented levels of performance – for public 5G networks, as well as private installations via 5G LAN technology within the enterprise. Since 5G operates on a completely different spectrum than Wi-Fi, businesses can “overlay” services directly on top of existing IT infrastructure without downtime or interference.
5G IoT Use Cases
Manufacturing Production Lines
Manufacturers have historically adopted new technologies faster than most industries, with 5G IoT being no exception.Today, factory floors connect both new and old machinery with smart IoT sensors to gain insights into the status, health, and productivity of their assembly lines.
Metrics such as oil levels, electrical outputs, temperature, and speed can be measured even across the largest campuses using the new 5G LAN technology. In the past, to gain these insights would require factories to cease production to replace antiquated equipment with internet-connected machines. With the advent edge compute, those same machines can report back valuable data at high volume through the on-premises private cellular infrastructure.
At Celona, we partner with manufacturers to automate their performance tracking and operations through MicroSlicing technology. This enables manufacturers to set key performance indicators (KPIs) and service-level agreements (SLAs) for their network that reflects their uptime and efficiency goals, down to millisecond requirements.
Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGV)and Automated Mobile Robots (AMR)
While still in their infancy, automated operations via the use of connected robotics are on a high growth trajectory.Enterprises are increasingly relying on these new options to accelerate their digital transformation and automate traditionally manual (and expensive)business processes. For instance, many warehouses and fulfillment centers today leverage robotics to automatically move ordered products towards / from shipping departments.
In the future, we’ll likely see the widespread use of autonomous vehicles across the country. Public 5G networks will be the backbone that allows these vehicles to communicate with back-end services and with other vehicles and sensors on the road – further fueling innovation within the enterprise networks as the affordability of these solutions continue to improve with increased availability and use.
Digital Healthcare Applications
Many healthcare providers rely on 5G IoT sensors to monitor their inventory and most critical patients. From crash carts to medical supplies, sensors can provide live feedback detailing the location of vital medical equipment and how much of an item is left in stock. When paired with automation, this technology can put in order requests when inventory run slow or send alerts directly to doctors when needed. Private 5G installations keep Wi-Fi interference away from such critical infrastructure and allow for strict enforcement of zero trust network access to sensitive data.
Equipment such as smart screens, ventilators, and hemodialysis machines can be outfitted to operate on a 5G LAN within a hospital system. When used over 5G, live metrics can be sent to a monitor dashboard, critical alerts can be sent to doctors, and every metric can be securely added to that patient’s medical record – even if some of the applications need to keep such data strictly on-premises due to security policies.
Smart Cities and Connected Agriculture
Cities of the future can use a mix of public and private IoT services to improve operations and provide widespread access to resources. City services can use 5G IoT sensors to continuously monitor HVAC systems, water levels, trash build-up, and the location of their fleet vehicles. In the future, smart parking spots could help travelers find open parking spaces, and secure city-funded 5G could provide safe access to online resources for members of the community.
Farmers can leverage existing 5G IoT technologies today to monitor crop health, measure greenhouse conditions, and record pH levels in the soil. This alone helps dramatically improve crop yields and keeps equipment running longer through preventive maintenance. Soon, we’ll see extended 5G services enable these same farms to use autonomous farm equipment and robotics to further improve their output.
Challenges in 5G IoT
In the past, building a 5G network wasn’t possible without relying on large network operators and commercial infrastructure. Now with private spectrum options such as CBRS in the United States, businesses can build 5G LAN infrastructures that they own and manage themselves.
Still, challenges remain, especially for enterprises looking to build their own 5G IoT solution. Many companies branded as “private 5G” often only provide the radios, or SIM provisioning, or mobile core software, or network management software component for the network. This leaves many pieces of the puzzle up to the enterprise to figure out for themselves.
Many solutions now help enterprise companies subscribe to private mobile networks, but at the expense of their control. This approach leaves businesses unsure of where their data is going and relies on giving a separate mobile operator control over their data. This lack of control limits how enterprises can shape their traffic to meet custom SLAs or application-specific requirements.
To solve these challenges, 5G LANs put enterprises in full control of moves, adds and changes for their private cellular infrastructure. As the leading provider of 5G LAN solutions, Celona enables customers with all the ingredients they need to integrate their private mobile network within their infrastructure: from centralized infrastructure management to SIM / policy / device provisioning to radio hardware, as an integrated package.
Through software defined controls, businesses have full control over their data and can provision Celona MicroSlicing policies to secure and enforce QoS on applications that require deterministic access to private cellular wireless network resources.
Within the Celona platform, artificial intelligence continuously monitors and manages traffic to adhere to predefined app-level requirements. This not only keeps critical systems running but automates network maintenance and new device configuration.
The Celona Solution
Celona partners with enterprise organizations to help them rapidly deploy and secure 5G IoT applications – thanks to its industry first integrated 5G LAN solution.
Plug-and-play cellular access points can be quickly deployed throughout the campus, while proactive monitoring ensures network SLAs, such as throughput and latency requirements, are consistently being met.
Celona’s software architecture allows for private 5G technology installation an out-of-box experience in enterprise environments. Implementation of Celona’s 5G LAN can be done alongside existing wireless and IT infrastructure, without interrupting business operations.
If you’re building your network for the future, Celona can help. Check out our network planner to estimate the size of your private mobile network, or test-drive the Celona 5G LAN solution after applying for a free trial.