5G is the next evolution from the 4G LTE wireless networks that we use today. It is designed to connect more devices and advanced applications, such as autonomous vehicles and smart cities, with unprecedented speed and efficiency.
4G, on the other hand, can handle everyday tasks such as browsing and streaming, but it might not be able to manage the anticipated traffic and data capacity of new applications.
With the introduction of 5G, we will see a revolution in the way we communicate and interact with devices, making integration with IoT technology a natural fit for future applications.
IoT, or the Internet of Things, refers to the network of everyday objects connected to the Internet, enabling them to exchange data and communicate with each other. This technology has the potential to revolutionize industries ranging from healthcare to transportation.
As we look to the future, the convergence of 5G and IoT will undoubtedly lead to new and exciting innovations that will impact our lives, transforming the way we live and work.
Benefits of 5G for IoT
In the year 2024, the combination of 5G and IoT technology is expected to bring numerous benefits across various industries and everyday life. Let’s explore the key advantages that 5G offers to IoT applications.
Enhanced Mobile Broadband
5G enables significantly faster data speeds and increased network capacity, providing a more seamless and efficient internet experience for IoT devices.
Users can experience ultra-high-definition video streaming, real-time gaming, and rapid file downloads on their connected devices.
Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications
The 5G technology offers ultra-low latency, which is the delay in transmitting data between devices and the network.
This allows for near-real-time communication between IoT devices, enabling quick response times and enhancing applications such as autonomous vehicles, industrial automation, and remote surgeries.
Much Faster Data in Cities, Urban Areas, and Local Networks
With 5G, cities and urban areas will experience a significant boost in data speeds and network performance.
It will support the growing number of connected devices in these densely populated areas, increasing efficiency and productivity.
Improved Energy-Saving Functions for Devices Used Indoor
5G brings advanced energy-saving capabilities to IoT devices used indoors, such as smart home appliances, lighting systems, and environmental sensors.
These devices can leverage the energy efficiency features of 5G, resulting in optimized power consumption and extended battery life.
Connectivity for the Internet Age in Rural Areas
The deployment of 5G infrastructure in rural areas will bridge the connectivity gap, replacing aging 2G and 3G networks.
Modern 5G networks will provide reliable and high-speed internet access to underserved rural communities, enabling them to fully participate in the digital age.
Massive IoT involves connecting many low-cost devices with narrow bandwidth requirements. Here are some key points about this technology and its integration with 5G:
LTE-M and NB-IoT in 4G Networks
LTE-M and NB-IoT have been co-existing with LTE in 4G networks since 2017 and meet all the 5G requirements for massive machine-type communications.
Deployment and Adoption
Over 120 commercial networks globally support NB-IoT and Cat-M access, with millions of commercial users. The forecast predicts over 2.5 billion connections by 2025, with various industries already using these devices.
There are two types of Cat-M/NB-IoT modems: single-mode NB-IoT modems for ultra-low-cost devices and dual-mode modems that combine the best attributes of both technologies for diverse use cases.
Coverage Extension and Performance
Cat-M1 has coverage extension (CE) modes, but performance benefits diminish in mode B due to trade-offs between coverage and throughput. Dual-mode modems switch to NB-IoT access in poor coverage scenarios.
Smooth Evolution in 5G Networks
Cat-M1 and NB-IoT have a smooth evolution in 5G networks when combined with Dynamic Spectrum Sharing and dual-mode 5G Cloud Core, enabling existing and future devices to connect to the 5G infrastructure.
Broadband IoT uses mobile broadband (MBB) for IoT devices, enabling higher data rates and lower latencies. It has applications in all industries, with over 500 million users as of 2020.
LTE Capabilities for Broadband IoT
LTE offers device categories with wide bandwidths and data rates up to the gigabits per second range. 5G NR is expected to provide even higher data rates in the tens of Gbps.
Enhanced Coverage and Battery Life
Devices can switch between LTE and LTE-M access, improving battery life. NR can improve network-based device positioning accuracy.
Uplink Data Rate and TDD Configurations
The uplink data rate can be boosted with high-order modulation and carrier aggregation. TDD configurations need to balance uplink and downlink capacity and latency.
LTE-NR Interworking and Future Development
Tight interworking between LTE and NR ensures value for 5G deployments from day one. 3GPP Rel-17 will support power-saving capabilities in NR devices for diverse use cases.
Critical IoT allows for time-critical communication and data delivery within specified latency bounds, even in heavily loaded networks. Typical use cases for Critical IoT include AR/VR, autonomous vehicles, and real-time human-machine collaboration.
For Critical IoT to work properly, all components (networks, devices, and applications) must have low latency and high reliability. End-to-end latency is the sum of individual latency contributions, and reliability cannot exceed the weakest link.
5G URLLC Capabilities
5G NR and 5GC support ultra-reliable and low latency communication (URLLC) with latencies down to 1 ms and up to 99.9999% reliability.
Edge computing is necessary to reduce transport latency for Critical IoT use cases. Core user plane distribution reduces latency by keeping user traffic local.
NR: The Technology of Choice
NR is the preferred technology for Critical IoT due to larger bandwidths and greater capabilities than LTE.
5G Spectrum Assets
With flexible spectrum assets, MNOs can provide Critical IoT coverage in wide-area and local industrial deployments.
SA 5G is ideal for fulfilling Critical IoT requirements with advanced service differentiation, flexible edge computing, network data analytics, and advanced QoS.
NSA 5G may not offer the full potential for URLLC from both radio access and core network perspectives and may not be beneficial for local coverage needs. NS 5G deployments could leverage NR user plane capabilities for URLLC to enable less demanding use cases. Eventually, NSA 5G deployments will transition to SA 5G for full potential in wide areas.
Industrial Automation IoT
Industrial Automation IoT aims to seamlessly integrate cellular connectivity into the wired industrial infrastructure used for real-time advanced automation. This allows for the integration of 5G systems with real-time Ethernet and Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) in industrial automation networks.
Industrial Ethernet Solutions
Several industries rely on wired communication for advanced automation. Industrial Ethernet solutions, such as PROFINET, EtherCAT, Sercos, EtherNet/IP, Powerlink, and Modbus, support deterministic communication for real-time automation.
Integration of 5G and TSN
To enable seamless integration of 5G with TSN, 3GPP has standardized a feature set in Rel-16 as part of the Industrial IoT work item. This integration is achieved using TSN Translators (TT) in the 5G system, which act as bridges between the TSN network and the 5G system. The translators are responsible for managing TSN flows and providing time-aware scheduling information.
To ensure synchronization within the TSN network, TSN nodes are time-synchronized using the generalized Precision Time Protocol (gPTP). The 5G system bridge can support forwarding of the gPTP synchronization information or act as a grandmaster using its internal clock. This allows for precise time-referencing in industrial applications that require synchronous operation.
Crucial Factors Enabling Cellular IoT
Network slicing allows the creation of multiple logical networks using a common shared network infrastructure across radio, core, and transport networks.
It enables cost efficiency, scaling, and flexibility by deploying end-to-end network slices for cellular IoT segments or creating separate network slices for different enterprises.
Network slices include required network resources configured and connected across radio, transport, and the core network and can be dynamically created as needed.
A slice service Orchestrator automates the creation, modification, and deletion of slices while monitoring slice performance and adjusting resources.
Network exposure with RESTful APIs securely exposes network capabilities and enables network programmability for IoT connectivity.
It includes network monitoring, device-related APIs, network control and configuration, and payload interfaces for small data delivery.
APIs provide functionalities for network publishing information, provisioning, onboarding, connectivity management, location information, and more.
Network data analytics leverage consolidated data from the network, applications, and devices to extract valuable insights, optimize network performance, detect misbehaving devices, analyze traffic patterns, and assist with traffic routing and network automation.
GSMA has specified an Embedded SIM (eSIM) solution for remote provisioning of cellular subscription credentials without physically accessing IoT devices.
An integrated SIM (iSIM) solution embedded into a device’s chipset hardware optimizes device cost, form factor, and power consumption.
3GPP Rel-16 has standardized non-SIM authentication for 5G Core (5GC), which is useful for non-public networks and low-cost NB-IoT and Cat-M1 devices.
Non-SIM authentication (certificate-based EAP-TLS) allows devices to access both public and non-public networks using SIM functionality for public networks and a non-SIM feature for non-public networks.
Industries for 5G-Based IoT
The integration of 5G and IoT has opened a world of possibilities across various fields. Here are some industries that are leveraging the power of 5G-based IoT:
- Smart traffic management: 5G enables real-time communication and data analysis, facilitating efficient traffic management systems, reducing congestion, and improving overall transportation.
- Public safety: With 5G, emergency services can transmit high-resolution video, connect multiple devices for better situational awareness, and deploy advanced analytics to enhance public safety.
- Remote patient monitoring: 5G-powered IoT allows for remote monitoring of patients’ health conditions, enabling healthcare professionals to provide timely care and interventions without the need for physical consultations.
- Telemedicine: Doctors can use high-quality video conferencing and real-time data transmission to remotely diagnose and treat patients in underserved areas, improving accessibility to healthcare services.
- Industrial automation: 5G enables real-time control and monitoring of manufacturing processes, enhancing productivity, reducing downtime, and improving overall efficiency.
- Robotics and AI: With lower latency and higher bandwidth, 5G supports seamless communication between robots, enabling advanced automation and increased precision in manufacturing operations.
Transportation and Logistics:
- Connected vehicles: 5G allows vehicles to communicate with each other and with infrastructure, enhancing road safety, optimizing traffic flow, and improving overall transportation efficiency.
- Supply chain management: IoT devices powered by 5G can provide real-time visibility into inventory, track shipments, and optimize routes, leading to improved logistics.
Energy and Utilities:
- Smart grids: 5G-based IoT devices can monitor energy distribution, enable predictive maintenance, and optimize energy consumption, resulting in more efficient and reliable power grids.
- Smart metering: With 5G, utility companies can collect real-time data on energy usage, allowing for more accurate billing, load balancing, and demand management.
Security Vulnerabilities and Solutions
Despite numerous benefits, the integration of 5G networks with IoT also poses significant security risks related to insecure communications, weak authentication, outdated firmware, unprotected APIs, and physical security vulnerabilities.
- 5G networks utilize new protocols and technologies, which may introduce security vulnerabilities.
- Incorrect implementation of encryption can leave data vulnerable to attacks.
- Many IoT devices have weak legacy authentication mechanisms, making them easy targets for attackers.
- Default passwords or infrequent password changes leave devices susceptible to compromise.
- IoT devices often run on outdated firmware, which can introduce security vulnerabilities.
- Known exploits can be used by attackers to gain control of devices with vulnerable firmware.
- Devices expose APIs that control or monitor them, which, when unprotected, can be exploited by attackers.
- Unauthorized access can occur if APIs are not properly secured.
Physical Security Vulnerabilities:
- IoT devices are often deployed in physically insecure environments.
- Devices located in public or remote areas may be vulnerable to tampering or unauthorized access.
Mitigating a New Wave of Attacks
To address these risks and protect IoT devices and networks, organizations should consider the following measures:
- Deploy secure devices: Choose IoT devices with built-in security features like secure boot and encryption.
- Keep firmware up to date: Regularly update and patch IoT device firmware to address known vulnerabilities.
- Secure the network: Implement multiple layers of security, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and network segmentation, to protect the IoT network.
- Secure the applications: Ensure IoT applications have strong authentication, authorization, and encryption mechanisms.
- Protect APIs: Apply robust authentication and authorization mechanisms to secure APIs controlling IoT devices.
- Protect data: Safeguard all data collected by IoT devices by encrypting it both at rest and in transit. Employ physical security measures to prevent unauthorized access to IoT devices.
By implementing these security measures, organizations can effectively monitor and mitigate the potential risks and vulnerabilities associated with IoT systems riding on 5G networks.
5G vs LTE-M, NB-IoT, and LPWAN
5G vs LTE-M
While 5G and LTE-M are both wireless technologies used for IoT solutions, they have some differences:
- Speed and capacity: 5G offers significantly higher data transfer rates compared to LTE-M. It enables faster communication and allows for more data-intensive applications.
- Latency: 5G has lower latency, meaning there is less delay in transmitting and receiving data. This is crucial for real-time applications that require immediate responsiveness.
- Coverage: While 5G networks are aiming for nationwide coverage, LTE-M offers a greater coverage range, making it suitable for IoT solutions that require long-range connectivity to reach remote or hard-to-reach areas.
- Power consumption: LTE-M consumes less power, making it ideal for IoT devices that need extended battery life.
5G vs NB-IoT
Key distinctions between 5G and NB-IoT include the following:
- Bandwidth: 5G provides wider bandwidth, allowing for higher data transfer rates compared to NB-IoT, which is specifically optimized for low-bandwidth applications.
- Power efficiency: NB-IoT excels in power consumption, enabling devices to operate on a battery for extended periods. 5G, while efficient, utilizes more power due to its higher speeds and capabilities.
- Connectivity density: NB-IoT supports a larger number of connected devices within a given area compared to 5G. It is ideal for IoT deployments that require a massive number of devices in a localized environment.
5G vs LPWAN
LPWAN (Low-Power Wide-Area Network) is a wireless technology designed for long-range, low-power IoT applications. Here is how it compares to 5G:
- Range: LPWAN technologies offer exceptional coverage over long distances and can penetrate buildings and obstacles, making them suitable for wide-area deployments that require extensive coverage. 5G has a comparatively shorter range.
- Power consumption: LPWAN devices consume minimal power, allowing for extended battery life and reducing maintenance efforts. 5G, although power-efficient, may require more frequent charging or power sources.
- Bandwidth: 5G provides significantly higher bandwidth, enabling faster speeds and supporting bandwidth-intensive applications. LPWAN networks have lower data rates but are suitable for low-bandwidth IoT solutions.
TEKTELIC and LoRaWAN® Solutions
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