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What is 5G and how it will transform the Internet of Things (IoT)

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

Let's have a look at what is 5G technology and what it means for the Internet of Things (IoT)

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The Internet of Things (IoT) industry is relatively new, but vastly on the rise. The number of smart technology devices that are connected within a network is projected to increase to around 3.2 billion by 2023.

The contribution to such a rise is to multiple factors and most importantly is to major advancements in networks such as the newly developed 5G network.

What is 5G?

If you are asking what does 5G mean, it basically means Fifth-generation wireless (5G). it is the latest renewal in cellular technology, and engineered to significantly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks.

5G sppeds are fast, very fast. Download speeds can presently reach upwards of 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) or even up to 2.1 Gbps. Think of this, you could start a YouTube video in 1080p quality on a 5G device without any buffering. Downloading an app or a Netflix episode, may currently take a few minutes. With 5G you will be ready to go after a few seconds.

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What does 5G provide?

The thing that sets 5G apart from it's predecessors such as 3G and 4G, is the significant is the way in which it leverages the frequency spectrum. In order to deliver ultra-high speeds, but with the lowest latencies, 5G networks leverage radio frequencies in two groups:

FR1, or the 'sub-6 GHz range',

FR2 between 24 and 52 GHz.

The latter, FR2, extends into the extremely high frequency (EHF) range. This is also known as the millimetre wave (mmWave) frequency. mmWave is defined as 'the band of spectrum' between 30 GHz and 300 GHz.

5G technologies are not to be viewed as a single technology, but sub-categorised into three different aspects of 5G, each catering for different wireless technology requirements.

mMTC (Massive Machine Type)

Communication, or energy-efficient 5G, adopts existing LTE LPWAN. Here the focus is to transmit low data volumes periodically to and from devices that need wide area coverage and long battery life. NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies are part of the mMTC category of 5G.


Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication, or mission-critical 5G, is a new entry into the performance communication spectrum, focusing on maximum reliability while enabling latency as low as 1 ms. This is aimed at applications such as first response emergency services, autonomous vehicles, as well as robotics.

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Enhanced Mobile Broadband, or high speed 5G, consists of predominantly high data through put, leveraging a new, greater bandwidth 5G spectrum. In other words, this means faster speeds and better efficiency for devices such as our smartphones or home internet.

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Does 5G give greater network reliability?

It can be argued that 5G is a game changer for the world of IoT. Faster and more stable connectivity will help better connection for every smart device. A more secure connectivity will help the development of smart devices, from self-driving vehicles to powerful smart devices for the monitoring of our industrial enterprises.

The commercial success of any IoT is ultimately tied to its performance, this may mostly depend on the communication rate between the device and other IoT devices, smartphones, and tablets. With 5G this data transfer speed will increase significantly!

The combination of the two represents a big change in the mobile ecosystem. It represents a significant combination of ultra fast, expanded bandwidth, low latency, and increased efficiency which will result in billions of devices around the world, connected to each other.

In addition, to an increase in speed, 5G networks will operate more reliably creating more stable connections. This is very important for IoT devices as it must ensure that all devices do not fail due to connection errors.

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Is 5G really worth it?

With such a powerful new tool, questions abound, like are 5G phones worth it? or can 5G make you dizzy? Studies have found that 5G devices are twice as fast as 4G ones but these devices may be pricey.

As for health issues, despite the big promises attached to 5G, there have been concerns raised regarding potential health effects it may bring. Till now there has not been any consensus on the matter both from a scientific as well as a political view, so we have to sit and wait.


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