5G IOT based solutions

Monday, March 1, 2021


Internet of things is about connecting a network of smart devices or sensors together to easing of operations and sharing of data amongst themselves. Evolution in the convergence of wireless technologies, internet and micro-electromechanical systems has made IoT and machine to machine (M2M)technologies possible. There are various smart devices, such as sensors, smartphones, and wearables, which collect necessary data from the devices which are further utilized to enhance customer’s experience. The increasing need for data analysis and integration of analytics is expected to propel the utilization of the Internet of Things market globally. The advancements in connectivity options through 5G technology is expected further to leapfrog the adoption and there by growth of the IOT marketplace.

Market Overview

The global market for Internet of things (IoT) end-user solutions is expected to grow to 212 billion U.S. dollars in size by the end of 2019. The technology reached 100 billion dollars in market revenue for the first time in 2017, and forecasts suggest that this figure will grow to around 1.6 trillion by 2025 (source Statista). With the development of wireless networking technologies, the emergence of advanced data analytics, a reduction in the cost of connected devices, an increase in cloud platform adoption, the market is expected to grow at a positive rate.

Some of the factors leading to this growth are –

  • Covid 19 – With the impact of shutdown,disruptions in supply chain, need for remote monitoring of operations, tracking of people movement with social distancing norms etc. IOT along with the associated intelligent solutions are likely to see an exponential growth of organizations adopting such solutions
  • Adoption of the Digital twin – Digital twins transforming the physical assets for better control, monitoring and viewing of operations. This provides benefits inoperational efficiency by simulation of the assets instead of creating new assets and achieving remote control without occupational hazards with lesser manpower.
  • End-user industry - The growing adoption of IoT technology across end-user industries, such as manufacturing, automotive, and healthcare etc., is driving the market’s growth positively. IOT is changing the way industries approach increasingly complex processes of systems and machines to improve efficiency and reduce downtime. The increased adoption of Industry 4.0 enterprises are adopting agile, smarter, and innovative ways to advance production with technologies that complement and augment human labor with robotics and reduce industrial accidents caused by a process failure.
  • Shifting from traditional sensors to smart sensors
  •  Need for real time data for streaming analytics
  • New business models emerging in end user services segments like Banking, Insurance,retail, government, healthcare, agriculture, law enforcement, education leveraging IOT and Analytics to gain insights into Point of Sale, Financial transaction, traffic movements, soil analysis, environmental analysis. And the list goes on.
  • Availability of better connectivity options like 5G

Gartner has analyzed the maturity curve of the adoption of IOT in the Digital Transformation journey and the Hype Cycle for the Internet of Things has shifted from "Hype" to "Trough of Disillusionment" with the clear observation that

  • The world has adopted IOT for Digital Transformation.
  • The IOT body has been broken down into IOT tech stack, Applications, IOT platforms, IOT services and IOT Edge architecture.

Connectivity Options for IOT

With so many IoT connectivity options on the market, choosing the right one for your project can be complicated. Connectivity is a critical piece for successful implementation of any IOT Project. All the stakeholders whether it is the Device manufacturers, Bandwidth providers, System integrator, Application Developers, Platform providers etc. need to find the most suitable connectivity option for their products and projects. There are in excess of 30 connectivity options for IOT deployment in the market today,with an ongoing effort by different stakeholders to evolve and deploy new ones,he search for the right option could be challenging.

This challenge gets even more difficult considering the amount ofdata is growing and the current solutions are constrained to handle the risingdata volume. In addition some of the stakeholders like Application Developersand Device Manufacturers must provide interoperability at the element level inthe IOT ecosystem, the ideal system being all devices work without any coordinationwith any other vendors. However, some of the Device OEM’s and Technologycompanies are still announcing their own standards which may be interoperable,but interconnectivity remains a serious barrier.

IOT Stakeholders (mainly the Application developers and the DeviceOEM’s) must also strike a balance between three key parameters critical for theIOT ecosystem – Bandwidth, Range and Power Consumption. End-user-companies andApplication developers are wanting solutions that would be a perfect combinationof high bandwidth for transmitting large amount of data over huge distanceswhile consuming less batter power and of course, at an economic value. Buttoday, there is a must make trade-off between the three parameters whilechoosing the right solution.

There is no one-size-fits-all protocol capableof supporting all technological and analytical tasks. But some solutions arebetter suited for specific use cases. Here is a comparison of the most commonconnectivity options available today.

  1. WiFi –

  • Technology - Works on unlicensed 2.4 & 5 GHz. WiFi uses a wireless adapter to translate data into a radio signal and transmit that signal using an antenna. Those radio waves emanate outwards from the antenna and are received by your wireless router. Speeds achievable of upto 20 Mbps.
  • Primary Use - Primarily used for data-intensive uses and in-building or campus environments, like Building Automation, Building Energy Management etc.
  • Limitations - However,transmitting large files comes at a cost of high power consumption. Wi-Fi was not designed expressly for IoT networks (though two recently developed IEEE standards, 802.11ah and 802.11ax, were). Sensors, key elements in IoT network development, are battery-based and transmit small amounts of data over huge distances. Consequently, they need another type of connectivity solution.  

  2. Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy –  

  • Technology - Works on unlicensed 2.4 GHz. Bluetooth uses a radio technology called frequency-hopping spread spectrum.Bluetooth divides transmitted data into packets, and transmits each packet onone of 79 designated Bluetooth channels. Speeds achievable of upto 2 Mbps with Bluetooth Ver 5.0
  • Primary Use - Personal IoT devices like wearables and fitness trackers, as well as beacons, for its ability to continuously stream large amounts of data. And BLEwas designed specifically for low-powered IoT devices. BLE is best suited for devices that transmit low volumes of data in bursts, as the devices are designed to save power when they are not transmitting data.
  • Limitations - Its application in industrial projects has been limited because ofits very short-range connectivity and high battery consumption. Still, the low price of this solution attracts developers, who have introduced hybrid architecture schemes with Bluetooth, which help to overcome the Bluetooth short-range restriction. These schemes use Bluetooth for connecting dozens of end point devices to one master access device. In turn, the access device uses another,more expensive technology (for example, cellular) for connecting to the backend (which is referred to as Bluetooth bridging)

   3. Mesh Technologies

  • Technology – Mesh Technologies like ZigBee & Z-Wave use a system of interconnect nodes to carry small data packets over short to mid range distances. Zig Beeworks on unlicensed 2.4 GHz & Z-Wave on unlicensed (in US & Canada) 908.4 MHz.Devices use less battery and can last for years. Speeds available of Zigbee is250 kbit/s and of Z-Wave is 100 kbit/s.
  • Primary Use - In-house applications and neighboring projects like smart lighting,security systems, HVAC systems and remote controls.
  • Limitations - Interoperability and low speed.

   4. LPWAN – (Low Powered wide area network)

  • Technology - LPWAN is an umbrella term for any network that allows communication over large distances (at least 500 meters of signal range from the gateway device to the endpoint) using minimal power. These networks are divided into licensed (Long Term Evolution-Machine, NarrowBand-IoT and Extended Coverage-GSM) and unlicensed (SigFox and LoRa-based-standards).

               Licensed NB-IoT offers low bandwidth data connections at low cost and is currently Europe-focused, while LTE-M is optimized for higher bandwidth and mobile connections. LTE-M has higher throughput with lower latency and battery use is optimized accordingly. The licensed band technologies work through the cellular service providers on 3G/4g With speeds of LTE-M 300kbps/380kbps, NB-IOT 26kbps/66kbps, EC-GSM474kbps/474kbps (EDGE) & 2mbps/2mbps (EGPRS2B) all with a high latency 50ms to 2s. Most of these technologies are evolving into 5G as well.

               Unlicensed Sigfox is a proprietary network owned by the company and is a narrowband(or ultra-narrowband) technology. It uses a standard radio transmission method called binary phase-shift keying (BPSK), and it takes very narrow chunksof spectrum and changes the phase of the carrier radio wave to encode the data.Sigfox uses 200 kHz of the publicly available and unlicensed bands to exchange radio messages over the air (868 to 869 MHz and 902 to 928 MHz depending on regions) with a speed of 100 bps. LoRa (short for long range) is a spread spectrum modulation technique derived from chirp spread spectrum (CSS) technology and is an open network proposed by a consortium. LoRa transmits over license-free megahertz radio frequency bands: 169 MHz,433 MHz (Asia), 868 MHz (Europe) and 915 MHz (North America). LoRaenables very-long-range wireless data transmission. LoRa communications can be made at ranges of ten miles, using low power at a speed ranging from 27 mbps to 50 kbps, battery life upto 10 years.

  • Primary Use - These solutions have been designed particularly for IoT; therefore,they’re designed to send small amounts of data at longer intervals from a lot of endpoints, but within a long period (hence the need for low-power usage) and at longer distances.
  • Limitations - LPWAN technology is still in the early stages of deployment (the much discussed NB-IoT was presented only in 2016), and its full potential and disadvantages won’t become clear until the networks have been implemented at a greater scale. Today, only 20% of the global population is covered by an LPWAN network; that low uptake prevents it from becoming a default solution within the next five years. However, LPWAN availability is growing rapidly, andby 2022 LPWAN technologies are expected to provide coverage for 100% of the world population.

   5. 5G –

  • Technology – Works on sub 6GHz frequency and transmits using millimeter waves, with shorter distance of travel, thereby requiring multiple base stations, as compared to 4G,  with its much more abundant bandwidth and shorter range, and hence greater frequency reusability,can be substantially higher. Gives an effective throughput of 10 gbits per second at a low latency of 8-30ms.
  • Primary use - As IoT solutions will be getting more elaborate and emit more data, a demand for a larger bandwidth will only be growing. 5G mainly works in3 bands – low, mid & high frequency/spectrum all of which have their own uses and limitations. The low band has great promise in coverage and speed, the max speed of 100Mbps and can be used for commercial users and may not be optimal for specialized needs of the industry. The mid-band on the other hands offers higher speed but has challenge in terms of coverage area and penetrations of signals can be customized for industrial/factory use for building captive networks. The high-band spectrum, offers the highest speed but with even more limited penetration capability and can achieve speeds of 20Gbps, with specialized industry use.
  • Limitations – Obstruction scan impact connectivity. Battery drain on current devices, which might change with the ecosystem around 5G yet to evolve.


Dueto the speed, massive capacity and super low latency of the 5G Ultra Wide band network, the potential for technological growth is vast. 5G is important to the Internet of Things because of the need for a faster network with higher capacity that can serve connectivity needs. The 5Gexpands the frequencies on which digital cellular technologies will transfer data. This wider spectrum available for use increases the overall bandwidth of cellular networks, allowing for additional devices to connect.

Another area where 5G Ultra Wideband could impact the Internet of Things is enhancing virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR). 5G Ultra Wide band’s ultra-low latency can improve the AR/VR experience, and opens possibilities for such technology in business, education and elsewhere. 5G has the potential to drive advancements in smart machinery as well as smart manufacturing. Thinking even bigger, 5G could enable IoT to run virtually instantaneous traffic analyses,improve security and public safety enable remote surgery.

With the flexibility of the different 5G bands with different speeds and penetration levels, ad with the 5G ecosystem evolving, 5G offers much promise to the IOT growth in the coming years.

5G will play a significant role in leapfrogging IOT based solutions worldwide.

You might also like
this new related posts

If you’re interested to view all our use cases, click here.