It can be difficult to encapsulate the meaning hiding beneath the surface of this one number and one letter standing casually next to each other. It is significantly more than just 4G+1, but how much, really? Is it just a matter of speed with higher numbers, or does it open IoT doors that were previously closed? These are but the tip of the iceberg of the questions 5G raises. And as the 5G sun is rising, it’s a good time to answer some of them and gain a better understanding of things to come. Hold on to your routers, because we’re in for something big.
5 is the New 4
One of the first verbs that came to be associated with using the internet is surfing. If a sea is a network of water droplets, the internet is a network of data bits. Like surfers in the connectivity sea, we’ve been riding the 4G wave for a while now; long enough to know how far can we push our limits with it. 5G (G for generation), is at the most basic level a bigger wave that enables better, cooler surfing tricks.
So what makes that “wave” better?
At its core, 5G uses a 5G New Radio (NR) interface and is based on orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), which is a method of modulating digital signals in different channels to minimize interference. It also utilizes mmWave, sub-6 GHz, and wider bandwidth than 4G’s, and can cover frequencies up to 39GHz but is expected to utilize carrier frequencies up to 71 GHz in the future. All of this results in a faster network with greater capacity and lower latency.
To put this in perspective, a 5G system can achieve end-to-end latency of single-digit milliseconds. Multi-Gbps speed is only one feature that gets an upgrade, with others including mobility, capacity, and more. It can very well be said that 5G closes the gap between wired and wireless capabilities – something that 4G was simply unable to accomplish.
G for Growth
The economic prospects of 5G are just as optimistic. Its estimated global market share was approximately $64.5 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $1.87 trillion by 2030, yielding a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.63%. In contrast, 4G’s global market share was estimated at $313.3 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $2.5 trillion by 2027, with a CAGR of 34.7%.
What this means is that 4G isn’t going away anytime soon, and will continue to grow, but with 5G catching up at a greater pace in the long run. The two generations will coexist, serving different roles and satisfying different market needs, but 5G will take 4G’s spot at the edge of the spear eventually.
Growing market share isn’t the only source of optimistic numbers 5G brings to the table. It’s also expected to create 22.8 million jobs by 2035 and raise global GDP by 10.8%, with manufacturing, healthcare, and agriculture having a 20-30% expected productivity growth rate. 5G-enabled intelligent transportation is estimated to reduce traffic and its pollution by 15%, and reduce CO2 emissions from mobile networks by 50% over the next decade. The future, painted with 5G colors, appears to be bright and green!
Should You Care?
Okay, so 5G is the shiny new toy on the shelf. Does it actually matter for the IIoT world?
Yes, and quite a lot.
Maximizing speed and reliability while minimizing latency allows for more than just doing the same but better – it opens up new opportunities that can only exist when network precision reaches a critical threshold. One example is predictive maintenance, which means fixing things before they get a chance to go wrong. A single error in a large motor, power generator, or oil compressor is catastrophic in its consequences. But when data is streamed, tracked, and analyzed with 5G speed, it brings monitoring capabilities to the next level, and with it – enhanced security.
Another example is digital twins – dynamic, real-time digital replicas or physical systems. These allow for a brand-new world of hypothetical testing and software updating that cannot be achieved with 4G. Digital twins are the new standard of the aerospace industry but will become a standard for many more moving forward.
Virtual and augmented reality, edge computing, and autonomous vehicles are but a handful of other examples of 5G making the impossible possible. It’s not only the death of video buffering and online gaming lags – but the dawn of a new era of IIoT.
So when will Teltonika Networks have its first new 5G-supported devices? Soon. Very soon.