Smart phones (smartphones). Smart businesses. Smart homes. The need for a new mobile network standard arose not only through the huge (and ever-increasing) number of users and equipment, but also the ever-increasing demands and requirements for fast and stable connectivity. This is how the fifth-generation mobile network – 5G – came into being. 5G was designed not only to solve the problems of its predecessor, 4G LTE, but also to enable a continuous expansion of its capabilities. This approach was aimed at improving the user experience and enabling the use of the mobile network in entirely new service areas. The technological leap that will be achieved with the commercialisation of 5G will open up previously unattainable possibilities. Fully autonomous Industry 4.0 will be able to become a reality. Why?
5 reasons why 5G is the inevitable future
- Much higher transmission speeds. A 5G network can offer from an average download speed of 1Gbps to as much as 20Gbps in city centres. 4G, on the other hand, typically provides speeds of up to 100Mbps, which is at least 10 times slower transmission.
- Significantly lower latency. The average latency of a 5G network is 5 times lower than that offered by a 4G network (5G – around 10ms, 4G – around 50ms). Ultimately, 5G network latency is to be reduced to as low as 1ms.
- Greater network capacity. 5G has a much higher capacity – the network can support up to 1 million devices per square kilometre. Compared to LTE and a network capacity of up to 250 devices per sector or 750 per base station, 5G has a considerable advantage.
- A unified platform with greater capabilities. The 5G network has been designed to not only increase the efficiency of the services provided, but also to serve entirely new areas of service. The flexibility of the 5G network, through the use of all types of spectrum and bands, new ways of connecting and different deployment models, will allow for completely new business models.
- Splitting networks as required. The 5G network architecture allows specialised virtual networks (network slice) to be divided up on a shared infrastructure. The concept will allow the separation of individual network “slices” for specific applications or customers and the provision of services with highly differentiated transmission parameters such as special security or individual services.
Applications of 5G networks in industry and business
The commercialisation of 5G will have a decisive impact on global markets. By taking a developmental approach to the standard and placing great emphasis on the compatibility of future services, 5G will create the conditions for the introduction of entirely new types of services that have not previously been possible or have not yet even been invented. Based on already existing technologies and industries, it is possible to identify 3 main areas (the so-called 5G triangle) that will benefit most from the spread of this technology:
- Enhanced mobile broadband, requiring constant availability and high transmission speeds.
- Mass machine-type communication, supporting a very large number of devices.
- Ultra-reliable, low-latency, mission-critical communication.
Industry and manufacturing
An industry benefiting from the use of 5G will be industrial automation. The use of wireless connectivity will translate into lower installation costs, greater network flexibility and the ability to implement applications that are not feasible or usable with current wireless technology at this time. A 5G network will also allow for improved production processes and more accurate control of parameters. With higher transmission speeds, it becomes possible to analyse more accurate and larger volumes of data, which in turn will allow for more efficient process improvements, quality and productivity improvements and cost reductions.
5G will popularise the use of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and expand their capabilities. The network will allow vehicles to move more efficiently around the facility and improve processes, such as automating storage or moving parts between workstations or halls. The 5G network will also enable the convenient installation and seamless operation of a large number of remote sensors and trackers. Maintaining low latency, accuracy and wirelessness of this type for the time being will only be possible through the use of 5G technology.
5G technology will have a broad impact on the energy sector. 5G will allow previously unconnected devices to be integrated into the Smart Grid, as well as designing entirely new applications that will improve the management and control of the power grid, such as remote monitoring of devices. Such solutions can already be found today, but it is only with 5G that data will be able to arrive much faster, with less latency and over much greater distances. This combination of 5G and Smart Grid will further enable more efficient management of energy demand, as Smart Grid will balance the load on the grid and reduce peaks in real time
Businesses will gain a lot in the area of enhanced mobile broadband. With high-speed connectivity and low latency, the mobile network will be able to become the primary connectivity. Companies will be able to conveniently store electronic resources in the cloud, making it easier for employees working hybrid or remotely to access data remotely. It will also allow companies to reduce the cost of electrical installation and a local server, with the added benefit of fast network login – the user plugs in the hardware and can start working straight away.
Consumers and prosumers will also benefit from this technology direction. Commercial 5G networks will provide the opportunity for greater use of smart meters. This will allow users to have a better understanding of their utility consumption (electricity, gas, water) and more accurate measurements through real-time data collection, which in turn will enable better budgeting and savings.
One of the topics most awaited by 5G technology (and also the most awaited by consumers) is autonomous cars. For fully autonomous cars to become a reality, a combination of many different technological solutions is needed, of which 5G is one of the milestones. By using 5G and thus reducing latency and increasing transmission capacity, vehicles will be able to process large amounts of data faster, analyse it more quickly and respond to it more quickly.
5G connectivity will also have a major impact on both urban and long-distance transport. The use of 5G will allow detailed information about a specific journey to be obtained and processed in real time. It will be possible to quickly access data such as payment status, exact location or current vehicle status. By combining urban 5G infrastructure and ITS (Intelligent Transport System) systems, it will be possible to smooth and speed up traffic, analyse and monitor roads, accidents or available parking spaces in real time.
5G is the direction in which the technology world is heading. A 5G network will provide much higher maximum data speeds, very low latency, greater network capacity and improved availability and efficiency. Such significant improvements will open up a range of new opportunities and bring entirely new services to the market, as well as supporting existing ones. The examples of 5G technology cited in the article are only a small part of the whole range of innovative solutions that await us in the future. There is nothing left to do but wait, watch and prepare for the coming revolution.