Like all “next-gen” network technology, 5G has been much touted as the next big thing in wireless technology speed. In fact, industry experts expect it to be about 10x faster than 4G. To put this in perspective, the 5G network would give users enough bandwidth speed to stream 8K videos in 30 seconds, a task that would take around 6 minutes on the existing 4G network.
In addition to faster speeds, the 5G networks will virtually eliminate lag time between devices and servers, which is incredible news for the IoT industry where machine-to-machine communication demands uninterrupted communications between sensors, devices, machines, and data centers. The ability to connect new and more devices positions 5G to generate up to $12 trillion in goods and services.
However, making 5G a reality for IoT will require the mobile industry to work together, ensuring seamless interoperability for supporting a massive range of services and devices. But it’s not just about the network. Communications capabilities and processing power will need to be disseminated across networks and mobile devices in order to empower connected devices to handle heavy computation and rich content. This means that while wireless leaders AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are busy developing and testing 5G technology, equipment companies like Nokia and Ericsson are simultaneously working on the backbone and equipment to support the new network.
The Realities and Timelines
The international wireless consortium 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has approved technology standards for the next-gen network. Meanwhile, wireless providers are making announcements regarding the first US cities that will see 5G in the upcoming years. So far, we’ve seen the following cities mentioned:
- Atlanta (Sprint, AT&T)
- Chicago (Sprint)
- Dallas (T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T)
- Houston (Sprint)
- Las Vegas (T-Mobile)
- Los Angeles (T-Mobile, Sprint)
- New York (T-Mobile)
- Sacramento (Verizon)
- Waco (AT&T)
- Washington D.C. (Sprint)
While each provider is approaching 5G technology in different ways, one thing is clear – the next-gen 5G network is perfectly positioned to take IoT innovation to the next level.