5G Myths, Realities and Misunderstandings

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5G Myths, Realities and Misunderstandings

In Part One of this three-part series, we explained the basics of 5G, its use cases and benefits. In this article we’ll debunk some of the 5G myths, realities and misunderstandings. Then, in Part Three, we’ll explore the vision of applications that will be enabled by 5G .

5G Myths, Realities and Misunderstandings

Myth 1: 5G – Available Now!

Yes and no. Remember, from part one of this article, that there are several technologies rolled up under 5G. Some of those technologies are available and some aren’t. And, just because a 5G feature is available for your phone, it doesn’t mean that it’s available for your IoT device yet. The 5G features being touted today are more of a marketing tease aimed at consumer devices.

5G Feature For Consumer Devices For Industrial IoT Devices
LPWAN (NB-IoT or Cat M1) Yes (wearables, consumer IoT) Yes
Higher speed 5G Yes, in a growing number of cities, but only if you also have a compatible device. Not yet. While some networks are available, the ecosystem of industrial modules and end devices is incomplete. But ongoing advancements in 4G LTE are bringing higher and higher speeds to 4G LTE.
“Millimeter band” 5G for ultra-low latency and high availability requirements No No

Mith 2: Is 5G Going to Shut Down 4G?

We’ve lived through the 2G shutdown with the major U.S. carriers and 3G network sunset dates are quickly approaching. While these haven’t been traumatic to the consumer market who updated their flip phones long ago, it has caused a good bit of trauma with the machine-to-machine market. In M2M, remote monitoring sites were forced into hardware or system changes if they wanted to stay online. But, 2G and 3G technologies were inefficient users of the licensed spectrum, driving carriers to re-allocate that spectrum to LTE. LTE will continue to be a key technology for the carriers and those parts of the 5G technology suite built on the LTE infrastructure.

Myth 3: Can I Upgrade My 4G Devices in the Field to 5G?

Don’t count on it! But, don’t sweat it either. 4G LTE isn’t going away and your LTE device will be able to keep on performing whatever function it was intended to do long into the future.

Myth 4: I’ve Heard 5G is Going to Replace Wi-Fi. Is That True?

Anyone selling 5G services would certainly like this to be the case. But, it simply isn’t going to happen. The line between Wi-Fi and 5G applications will become blurrier as both technologies advance. Many applications will be designed to leverage both technologies to get the best combination of performance, reliability and spectrum utilization.

Myh 5: Is “Private LTE” 5G?

Private LTE is a rapidly growing trend in industrial settings. The concept is to leverage the advantages of wireless technology and the value it can bring to “Factory 4.0” and digital transformation projects but with the capability of locking down to only your own devices, providing the ability to completely control the network, assuring consistent performance and privacy. Private networks can be 4G LTE or 5G or both. Many forward-thinking companies are beginning to deploy private 4G LTE networks as part of their roadmap towards 5G.

Myth 6: Is 5G Overhyped?

There’s no question that 5G is getting a lot of attention. Hypesters range from technology companies to cellular carriers to governments. Is 5G worthy of all that hype? Time will tell. When 4G LTE was rolled out with great fanfare, we didn’t yet know that it would be the enabling technology that would fuel the exponential growth of ride-hailing, movie streaming or guided navigation companies. Similarly, the massive bandwidth and low latency capabilities of 5G will enable applications and new business models that haven’t yet been envisioned.


About The Author

CTO, Advantech IIoT Solutions

He is a recognized industry specialist, thought leader, author and speaker on Industrial IoT subjects, as well as how to navigate connected products in the connected service journey. Fahrion has ...