IoT Essentials: 5 Key Insights into 5G and Wi-Fi6

Large scale IoT deployments have been driving many breakthroughs in connectivity technologies. In this highly innovative landscape, the 5th generation wireless or 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are set to dominate the IoT connectivity arena during 2020 and beyond. Both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 ax) specs mark a giant leap forward when compared to their predecessors – 4G/LTE and Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 ac) in that order.

5G is the latest standard from 3GPP, which is yet to hit the market at a mass scale. The same is true for Wi-Fi 6 from the Wi-Fi Alliance. Although developed by different standards organizations, 5G and Wi-Fi 6 were both designed to serve the digitally connected world, and as such,they offer complementary capabilities. Thus, for your IoT use case, when you select one over the other, it’s not a matter of superiority but suitability. That’d be more evident when you consider the following five key insights:

1.Send more data from more devices in less time

Most smart home and smart city applications such a real-time video streaming, and AR/VR demand super-fast data rates. 5G cellular and Wi-Fi 6 with theoretical peak rates of 10 gigabits per second will allow ultra-high high-definition video downloads within seconds.

That’s a great news for high-speed applications, but what’s better is you can rely on these performance numbers even when there are many more connected devices per unit area. Compared with 4G LTE, 5G has 1000 times more bandwidth per unit area, can support 10,000 times more traffic and 100 times more connected devices per unit area. Thus 5G cellular could be a reliable option for congested city roads while Wi-Fi 6 could be highly suitable for large stadiums, connected buildings, convention centers, etc.

2.Newer design for IoT devices

Minimizing power consumption is both a primary imperative and challenge in IoT device design. 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are designed to help on that front as well, as they can support IoT devices designed to send more information using much less power. These technologies will lead to a new marketplace of always-on, always-connected devices that use less energy and offer longer battery life.

3.5G would be the designated choice for low latency applications

5G can enable sophisticated remote surgery use cases where the surgeon and the site of surgery could be thousands of miles apart. Such use cases rely on ultra-low latency. 5G is designed to offer latency in the order 1 millisecond. This can support many real-time, mission-critical applications in healthcare, smart manufacturing, remote robotics, etc.

4.5G and Wi-Fi can co-exist in IoT applications

Improvements in speed, latency, and the ability to reliably connect higher density of devices make Wi-Fi 6 the access choice for indoor networks for large office campuses, factory floors,entertainment, and shopping venues, etc. especially where one access point need to serve more users and devices. 5G cellular is ideal for outdoor connectivity involving large arenas (e.g., an oil and gas field) and in highly mobile use cases such as bullet trains driving at 200 miles per hour or connected cars driving on the highway.

5.Both technologies are mindful about IoT security needs

By its very nature, wireless connectivity is more prone to interceptions and man-in-the-middle attacks. Both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 incorporate additional security controls. 5G security includes mutual authentication, local secure elements, Transport Layer Security encryption, and over-the-air firmware updates for 5G electronics. 5G network slices can offer security benefits similar to LAN/WAN segmentation.

Currently, chipset/equipment manufacturers and network carriers are extensively testing these two technologies. Nivid Technologies is well-positioned to deliver superior IoT solutions worldwide using 5G and Wi-Fi 6 in collaboration with our OEM partners. Contact us for more details.