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Here’s how 5G will revolutionize the Internet of Things

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Fifth-generation mobile networks — 5G, for short — will be able to transmit data about 10 times faster than 4G LTE, the current standard, according to Ericsson’s annual Mobility Report.

That could revolutionize the IoT. And although it will take time to roll out, it’s already being embraced by hardware makers and telecoms thanks to a March decision by 3GPP, an association of telecoms, to approve faster initial 5G standardization. That means adoption will come in the next few years — Ericcson projects that 5G will reach about 15% of the world’s population by 2022.

Ericcson expects 5G to first be deployed in major metropolitan areas, so IoT applications it’ll be first be used to connect probably will be smart city solutions like connected streetlights and traffic lights. But 5G eventually will connect everything from smart home devices to self-driving cars and robotics.

Faster data transmission could simplify connected device management, which means 5G could lead to significant growth in the IoT. Here’s how:

  • Latency in cellular networks limits many IoT applications. Right now, many IoT solutions use cellular networks like 4G LTE to connect to the cloud, but the devices in these solutions produce so much data that’s hard to process quickly. That creates high latency — the amount of time between when data is sent from a connected device to when it returns to the same device — which in turn limits IoT solutions’ effectiveness.

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