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5G Americas white paper on the connected future of IoT

The report explores the market drivers and technology solutions for IoT trends in verticals and applications, and an overview of developments in global standards for cellular IoT.

July 17, 2019  

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5G Americas, an industry trade association, has published a 120-page white paper entitled: 5G: The Future of IoT  exploring the market drivers and technology solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), trends in verticals and applications, and an overview of developments in global 3GPP standards for cellular IoT.

The international standards organization, 3GPP, has been future-proofing cellular technology to meet market requirements across a vast number of vertical industries for ‘massive IoT’ which by definition means at least one million devices per kilometer (km).

With the move toward 5G, mobile networks are expected to efficiently support the simplest devices communicating infrequently that are ultra-energy efficient for long term with 10-plus years’ battery life.

In addition, for Critical IoT, the Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) radio and architecture are defined in the standards and will be essential for verticals such as smart factories and industrial automation.


“The future-proofing and delivery of IoT becomes essential as networks transform from 4G to 5G,” stated Vicki Livingston, vice president, communications, 5G Americas and an co-author of the whitepaper. “In 2019, we are seeing the early deployment of 5G networks. However, LTE IoT will continue to evolve over coming years, leveraging the scale, longevity and global coverage of LTE networks and complement initial 5G New Radio deployments that focus on enhanced mobile broadband and high-performance IoT. Continued LTE evolution is an integral part of the 5G platform – a unified, more capable connectivity fabric for our future.”

5G: The Future of IoT highlights the 3GPP standards that are being developed to address the many diverse requirements of the IoT, looking at both Massive IoT and Critical IoT segments.

The paper also provides an update of spectrum options for licensed, unlicensed and shared bands. In essence, these 3GPP standards are in themselves a market enabler in the future-proofing and delivery of IoT as networks transform from 4G to 5G.

As of June 2019, there were 56 networks worldwide offering LTE Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT Cat-NB1), the 3GPP radio standard that addresses the Low Power Wide Area requirements of the IoT characterized by improved indoor coverage, support of a massive number of low throughput devices, low delay sensitivity, ultra-low device cost, low device power consumption and optimized network architecture.

In addition, 24 networks offer LTE-M or enhanced Machine-Type Communications (eMTC Category M-1), supporting lower device complexity, massive connection density, low device power consumption, low latency and extended coverage while allowing the reuse of the LTE installed base (data from TeleGeography). Both LTE-M and NB-IoT can be deployed ‘in-band’ within a normal LTE carrier, or ‘standalone’ in dedicated spectrum. NB-IoT can also be deployed in an LTE carrier’s guard-band.  Beyond Release 13, there is a roadmap of LTE IoT technology innovations that deliver additional enhancements to meet tomorrow’s massive IoT requirements in 5G networks.

“Technology solutions such as cloud computing, edge cloud and artificial intelligence are being applied to IoT use cases with much success. In addition, security enhancements to keep all the data generated by these ‘things’ protected from hackers, is addressed by the cellular technologies for IoT,” remarked Betsy Covell, distinguished member of technical staff for Nokia and a co-leader of the white paper working group.

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