2019 is the year 5G begins its long march: Page 3 of 3

September 12, 2019 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
2019 is the year 5G begins its long march
The term 5G has been exhausted to death, but 2019 is the beginning of a massive multiyear rollout. However, there could be significant bumps on the road ahead, both political and in terms of technology. For example, the role of mmWave still depends on trials and is still further out into the future. In spite of this, fixed wireless is where mmWave is getting the most attention.

One factor in 5G is the push of IoT markets offering both low-power, low bandwidth and high-bandwidth use cases. Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) deployments allow users to transmit a small amount of data from multiple devices at low-power levels. The high-bandwidth and low latency of 5G will also enable IoT use cases in applications such automotive and healthcare.

To illustrate this, a report from Information Services Group (ISG) finds that enterprises in the Nordic countries see the rollout of 5G mobile services, with their faster networking speeds, as a catalyst for the broader adoption of IoT systems. The report sees connected vehicles and smart buildings as the next big growth areas for the IoT in the Nordic region. Growth in the connected vehicles segment will be driven by usage-based insurance, vehicle diagnostics and vehicle-based computing platforms, the report says. Interest also is growing in intelligence transportation systems.

In the smart buildings space, the focus is on automation and security, with interest in using the technology in both commercial and residential buildings.
To conclude, the rollout of 5G is accelerating rapidly today and is expected to become dominant over the course of the next 5 to 10 years. The technology will enable a revolution in communications beyond the smartphone with an emphasis on IoT and AI use cases.

The mmWave part of the 5G paradigm is still further in the future, though developments in fixed wireless are poised to go mainstream. There are still hurdles in technology to overcome with the focus on higher frequencies below 6 GHz and mmWave. To this end, advances in GaN process technology continues to push the envelope in terms of frequency, power and cost.

The big curve ball facing 5G will be political, with the potential balkanisation of standards and networks. Hopefully, the worst case scenarios do not play out, but regions and countries need to be more cognisant of the changes facing global trade.


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