Explainer: The Future of IoT Connectivity Amidst Soaring 5G

IoT is expanding more relentlessly than we all think. The impact is as big and long-lasting as that of the internet two decades ago. There is an unimaginable volume of data streaming across this network and the number of devices expected to join the league needs no introduction. A lot has already been discussed around them. It is not incorrect to say that the data we store and share will cross paths with some IoT networks. Therefore, what we know as the internet is the internet of things from the future.

Among many, the super success of 4G followed by accelerated adoption of 5G infrastructure is a key contributor. Given such accessibility, the most popular use cases of 5G internet hovers around some IoT apps. For example, the ability to drive IIoT ecosystems over a cellular network is a milestone and there’s no second thought about that. Thus, an IoT product development company has an ocean of opportunities ahead.

As per Mckinsey, the initial installations of 5G will value between USD 700 – USD 900 billion. This covers 25% of the world population in the next decade.

Faster Signals At Once

The network consumption of all elements in IoT (elements & apps) could greatly vary, it is essential to emphasize those with strong signaling requirements. 5G pushes for beamforming; a technique that uses signals from multiple antennas and directs them towards a particular device.

While we are at it, stronger MIMO deserves a mention too. The ‘multiple input multiple outputs’ is the metric to measure the data receiving & transmitting capability at once. Until 4G, this was a fair success in some use cases. With 5G, MIMO is massively powerful and supports hundreds of antennas than ever thought. Moreover, devices until now were served based on first come first serve. Unlike before, devices do not have to wait for their turn in the pipeline and multiple of such devices can be served together.

LoRa

Long-Range (LoRa) is a device-to-cloud connectivity spectrum and built for devices that can transmit over a wider area consuming low power. It is the communication layer for the Low-Power-Wide-Area-Network (LoRaWAN) open protocol. For their longer battery life, LoRa devices are widely applicable in manufacturing plants wherein sensors relay data packets in real-time over a LoRaWAN network. Here, the data is analyzed to address key decisions and optimize business operations. Moreover, geolocation capabilities enable asset tracking, optimize various processes in logistics, and supply chain. This is a simple use case of the technology. Ideally, it is a great deal for Industrial IoT (IIoT) ecosystems willing to implement non-cellular wide-area connectivity.

As per ABI Research, LoRa could account for more than 50% of all non-cellular LPWA networks by 2026. The total number of these non-cellular LPWA connections is expected to reach 1.3 billion. LoRa devices excel because they are easily compatible with existing infrastructure.

IIoT wants Large manufacturing units to have a complex design and dense building materials. Most communication signals including the 5G may not reach every part and corner. However, LoRa can penetrate through such materials with ease and ensure an uninterrupted IIoT setup.

Global connectivity via the cloud

A global IoT network is an ambitious project for many product development companies. Such an infrastructure means uninterrupted connectivity to the network regardless of geographic borders or time zones. Until now, the IoT accessibility was limited to localized or at the maximum national level. A global cellular network means uninterrupted device connectivity without changing networks.

Given the vision of the IoT community to build a smarter and connected world, this is a great step. Flolive for example offers cloud-native connectivity of the IoT devices anywhere in the world. From personalized networks to industrial IoT solutions, the globally distributed core network utilizes an IMSI library for deploying and managing cellular solutions.

However, 5G has just arrived and will take some time to fully meet the enterprise requirements to drive high bandwidths and lower latency. Meanwhile, centralized private LTE networks are providing swift connectivity with public networks. That means an enterprise can literally ‘slice’ a network and implement additional gateways each with an exclusive bandwidth & QoS policies for every app.

Conclusion

As discussed, seamless connectivity to run IoT networks may not be a challenge anymore. Just as the internet has reached every corner of the world, so will the IoT-enabled apps and processes. This means enterprises must think beyond and improvise their product scope. Regardless of the connectivity concerns, they should think at the application layer and develop smarter apps.

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