5G——Future network technology for all applications
Source:The Internet | Author:Anonymous | Publish time: 2020-06-17 | 284 Views | Share:
With the global promotion and deployment of 5G, compared with other established technologies (such as Wi-Fi), the trend of IoT devices using cellular networks is increasing. Why is cellular technology so popular, and can all network connections be replaced by cellular technology in the future?

Current wireless solutions

Currently, there are a wide range of possibilities for using the equipment required for wireless communication, including infrared, Li-Fi, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular networks. Each technology has its advantages and disadvantages, some of which have a larger coverage area (such as cellular), while others are cheaper (such as Wi-Fi). Therefore, when choosing a wireless technology, all environmental and design aspects that may affect device performance must be considered. These factors include bandwidth, range, interference, cost, and availability.

However, of all the existing technologies, two stand out in particular. That is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These two wireless technologies work at similar frequencies (2.4 GHz spectrum), and they can be found in almost all modern mobile and IoT devices. Wi-Fi has advantages over Bluetooth, and its higher transmission power can achieve a wider operating range (Wi-Fi can reach 100 meters, while Bluetooth is 10 meters) and higher bandwidth.

However, using more transmission power means that the device consumes more power and therefore consumes battery power faster. Bluetooth is very suitable for a solution that uses a small battery to power and only needs to transmit small data packets in a short distance, which is why the design of the Internet of Things is biased toward transmission via Bluetooth. Wi-Fi is a mature technology that can be found in many different environments, such as homes, offices, and industrial locations, making it the first choice for applications that require networked devices.

However, cellular technology is being taken seriously by engineers in the industry, which shows that technologies such as 4G and 5G may replace Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. What are the advantages of cellular technology over other wireless methods, making them an ideal solution for the future?

5G and Wi-Fi

Understanding the difference between 5G and Wi-Fi helps to understand its target applications and deployed functions. Cellular technology needs to handle thousands of simultaneous calls, and it must also provide Internet connectivity at download speeds in excess of 100Mbps. Cellular base stations responsible for the distribution of cellular technology also need to have reasonable coverage to minimize the number of base stations that need to be built. In order to cope with more complicated situations, mobile users are required to be able to move from one cell to another (both cells are controlled by different base stations), and there will be no dropouts or data interruptions.

Wi-Fi technology needs to handle dozens of devices around homes and offices, and the maximum theoretical number of devices on a single Wi-Fi connection is 255. Because Wi-Fi networks are usually private, their scope is limited to rooms or buildings, and the limitation of the scope also helps to comply with radio transmission laws and reduce interference with other Wi-Fi networks. Since most typical Wi-Fi installations have only one access point, there is no need for automatic network switching when moving to different areas.

Wi-Fi consumes less power than cellular-based technologies, which will be beneficial in applications that rely on portable power supplies. However, more and more IoT devices do not have portable power supplies or large amounts of available power, which makes Wi-Fi and other technologies less attractive.

Due to the limited number of devices that can be connected to a single network, the increase in the number of devices in the home and the advancement of IoT have also caused problems with Wi-Fi technology. As more devices are connected to the same network, latency and data transfer rate are significantly reduced. For example, more than 20 devices connected to a single Wi-Fi access point can easily encounter this situation.

Why use cellular technology?

Cellular-based technologies such as 4G and 5G provide designers with a wide range of opportunities that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cannot. As the network coverage continues to increase, whether the device is located on the top of a building, office, or park, the device can be placed in most arbitrary locations, and there can still be network signals. If these devices can be permanently powered, the power consumption problem using mobile technology is eliminated.

One application area that has attracted great attention in mobile technology is the automotive industry, because vehicles roaming from one cell to another need to be able to stay connected, and using MIMO antennas can easily handle a large number of vehicles on the road in the coverage of cellular signals . Moreover, the low latency and high data rate provided by 5G will make communication between vehicles faster than other technologies (such as Wi-Fi).

Although 5G is still being introduced globally, it has begun to cause a paradigm shift. An example is the Dish Network in the United States, which has been developing NB-IoT networks for IoT devices. The project, which has invested more than US$500 million, was cancelled by Dish Network and then suffered a loss of US$253 million. The reason for this is that Dish Network changed its strategy and decided to continue to develop and install its 5G network, which they believe is the right move. This move also shows the importance of deleting multiple protocols and connection methods in order to support a unified technology.

IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) is another field that replaces traditional technology with mobile technology. Although Wi-Fi is completely suitable for providing connection with some home equipment, it is not an ideal choice in an industrial environment, which may include multiple floors, thickened walls, large buildings, and spacious spaces between different facilities.

Since mobile technology will benefit greatly from these applications, some mobile network providers are working with industrial companies to develop dedicated mobile networks. These can enable thousands of devices to be connected to a single access point or multiple antenna towers to achieve roaming capabilities. This is especially important for automated transport machines that transfer materials and goods from one site to another, which requires a constant and reliable uplink to the central server.

To sum up

At present, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enough to meet the needs of homes and offices, but more and more devices on the industrial site have put pressure on these networks. As IoT devices continue to be integrated into daily life, and the number of Internet-enabled devices in homes continues to increase, Wi-Fi networks will not be able to handle the challenges of the amount of data and the number of simultaneously connected devices. And technologies such as 5G can provide high-speed, low-latency connections, and have the remote ability to roam between network elements, making it an ideal replacement for Wi-Fi.

However, the future "5G class" system may be a miniaturized version of a large mobile network with a small private network that uses mesh-connected multiple small sites to provide connectivity to all equipment in the house. Unless the basic principles of Wi-Fi are changed (for example, the technical improvement of WiFi6, supporting networking, greater bandwidth and transmission rate), most wireless communications handled by 5G systems may be seen in the future.
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