KEY POINTS

  • 5G networks are nearly here — the first will go live in early 2019. Across the world, 5G networks are undergoing the final advanced tests to ensure that the networks are ready for launch. The forthcoming standard has consumers and enterprise cellular customers buzzing alike — and for good reason. The lightning-fast networks will change how telecommunications shapes business.
  • The new standard will allow a higher volume of data to be transferred in a shorter period of time, as it has higher speed and lower latency than 4G LTE. 5G networks could be more than 10 times faster than their 4G counterparts and could boast 50 times lower latency. On top of the speed boost, 5G networks possess a tenfold advantage over 4G in terms of the number of connected devices a network can support — that's helpful for IoT companies that use large numbers of connected devices in concentrated areas, like manufacturing facilities.
  • 5G isn't without its own challenges, though, namely its need for a high number of cell towers, high battery usage, and the network's expected slow-moving rollout. 5G presents a few significant challenges along with its upside. The new standard will require more cell towers than other standards to support its high-bandwidth operations and will likely drain batteries currently used in connected devices. Also, only 20% of the world’s population will live in an area with 5G coverage by 2023.
  • Still, the advent of 5G promises to transform the telecommunications space, and the IoT world as a result, due to its heavy reliance on cellular networks. Companies that use IoT solutions will be major beneficiaries of 5G's improvements over 4G. For example, more than 60% of respondents to Business Insider Intelligence’s 2017 Global IoT Executive Survey use cellular in their IoT solutions, the second most popular solution type after Wi-Fi.
  • Where available, 5G will enable exciting new IoT use cases, like real-time remote analytics and the remote execution of mission-critical services. 5G will present a clear advantage in certain areas, but companies shouldn't treat it like a panacea. For use cases like asset tracking, or those dependent on the use of small sensors, existing standards like 4G LTE or LPWAN may be more [...]