New-generation networks and IoT: working network protocols and the future of 5G
Modern world is on the verge of launching 5G, the fifth generation of mobile networks. It would speed up the development of IoT across the globe. Combination of these technologies may reshape business, social segment, and immerse us in a completely digitalized universe combining everything from a street lantern to an airplane and a ship into a single network.
Follow the article to get to know about the existing wireless networks and protocols in IoT and 5G potential benefit to this sphere.
Key types of IoT wireless networks
IoT makes it possible to interconnect various devices, data processing centers, and users in order to exchange data. Generally speaking, the Internet of Things makes a single system out of different communications lines, gateways, routers, and end devices.
J`son & Partners’ study shows the classification of four network types depending on an area size of a wireless network and some other features: personal (PAN), metropolitan (MAN), local (LAN), and wide (WAN).
A protocol is a base of wireless communication. It defines its topology, routing, addressing, nodes access to a data transmission channel, safety system, and other characteristics.
Let us delve into types and protocols of networks.
Local Area Networks (LAN). The widely known Wi-Fi is an example. Networks of this standard are compatible with the majority of devices and widely distributed. Wi-Fi protocols allow to transfer data at a speed varying from 0.1 Mb/s to several Gb/s.
Wi-Fi HaLow was developed specially for the Internet of Things. It allows to transmit a signal at a distance of up to 1 thousand meters and more.
Near field communication networks
Personal Area Networks (PAN) are aimed at a human and interconnect devices owned by one user. These can be smartphones, a wireless headset, PCs, laptops, and other devices. Such networks are energy-efficient. Their coverage area is 10-30 meters and more.
To connect devices to the Internet of Things, the following protocols are used: Zig Bee, WirelessHART, Bluetooth, MiWi, and Z-Wave.
Zig Bee. A new protocol applied for cheap and low-power wireless networks. This technology is a good option for control and surveillance, performance of apps that require secure data transmission.
A coordinator is responsible for network maintenance and launching. Routes ensure data transmission. Network endpoints receive and send data. If needed, they can enable hibernation to preserve battery power.
WirelessHART is a network technology aimed at wireless devices. It operates on HART (Highway Addressable Remote Transducer Protocol). Such a standard is utilized for process automation in manufacturing, medicine, and other spheres.
Bluetooth is one of the most popular and sought-after technologies for the connection of devices within one network. It is currently applied for data exchange between smartphones, wireless headsets, fitness trackers, and other wearables. Bluetooth helps create personal local networks to interconnect lots of devices around one user.
Bluetooth Low Energy, also Bluetooth Smart is known as a low-power standard that ensures connecting of sensors and other devices at a distance of 100 meters and more. Such networks are currently actively involved in smart home systems.
Bluetooth 5 standard is focused on IoT-powered gadgets. Maximal data transmission speed within this network is estimated at 50 Mb/s while Bluetooth 4.0 reaches 30 Mb/s. Maximal distance of Bluetooth 5 is 200 meters, which is 4 times bigger than 4.0 version.
MiWi. It is a wireless protocol for building cheap networks with the number of nodes reaching 1024. Such a standard is profitable when using cheap network devices with limited memory capacity. MiWi is credited to be an inexpensive alternative to ZigBee protocols.
Z-Wave. Such a technology is applied to monitor an environmental state, manage a smart home and commercial objects. It can also exchange small data.
6LoWPAN. It is a recoverable mesh networkcompatible withany network connections. Besides, 6LoWPAN can enable ID addresses between all nodes. Such a standard is used for a smart home, lighting management, smart audit systems, and other apps.
Far field communication networks
To make it possible that various devices interconnect within a network under various conditions such as long distances, here come wireless networks for far field communication. Among them, there are metropolitan and wide-area networks.
A wireless technology of small data transmission for long distances is called LPWAN (Low-power Wide-area Network). Such networks come in handy for medicine, and smart city systems. They track the work of enterprises, water quality, oil and minerals extraction. What is more, such networks serve as access points to the collection and transmission of data accumulated by sensors that are interconnected in network clusters.
The network protocol LoRaWAN was developed by the experts at Semtech and IBM Research for the transmission of small data for several dozens of kilometers. It is deployed on a star-on-star topology: various sensors transmit data to gateways that redirect it to a server. Devices connected to such a network can operate automatically for up to ten years.
Narrow-Band IoT(or NB-IoT) was specially designed for machine-to-machine interaction (М2М) and connection of various automotive devices to digital networks. This technology allows different sensors and appliances to save energy and connect dozens or hundreds of devices to a single base station.
NB-IoT can be used for recording power, gas and water consumption, monitoring systems, smart city infrastructure, work of personal gadgets, etc.
5G and its prospects for IoT
The fifth generation of cellular mobile communications (5G) will replace the existing 3G and 4G leading to a range of innovations:
- increased frequency range would eliminate network distortion;
- use of massive MIMOs (methods for signal space-time coding). This technology implies several aerials on receiver-transmitter units, which would allow to boost the speed of data transmission and signal quality;
- network slicing. This technology allows mobile operators to deploy isolated networks. Each of them would be used for certain purposes (the Internet of Things, video broadcasting, etc.);
- D2D (device-to-device). This technology will make it possible for closely located devices to exchange data, which would reduce the network load.
5G would be a positive innovation in the digital universe. Particularly, it would boost data transmission speed to 10 Gb/s and more. 5G would as well reduce a signal delay to 1 ms. 4G networks currently have 10 ms, 3G – 100.
When will 5G be introduced?
5G is now being tested in various countries. The first Russian testing session organized by MegaFon and Huawei took place as far as 2016.
In 2018, the telecommunications company Verizon launched the world’s first commercial network 5G in four U.S. cities.
The fifth generation of cellular mobile communications is expected to launch across the globe in no sooner than 2020.
In Q4 2020, Russia intends to fulfill the project of 5G introduction in five key economic segments and a million city. The fifth generation of cellular mobile communications is expected to appear in major cities of the country by the end of 2021.
How will IoT benefit from 5G?
Fifth-generation networks will make it possible to connect far more devices to cell towers than compared to the present. As reported by Recon Analytics, 4G ensures concurrent connection of up to 2 thousand devices. 5G may raise this index to 1 million, which would promote the development of the Internet of Things. Thus, various devices from a usual kettle to airplanes and ships would be connected to the network.
5G would propel IoT integration into medicine, manufacturing segment, social, financial, and energy industries, agriculture, safety, and leisure sector.
For example, farmers would attach sensors to animals to track their movements and health state. Special sensors would help agricultural workers observe soil conditions. Vehicle manufacturers may build chips in cars to see whether details work well.
A short signal decline would allow to use IoT technologies to manage drones and means of transport.
Integration of data collected from various sources would help users get an endless information flow. It can be utilized in telemedicine, scientific research, transport management, etc. 5G and IoT would allow to create a single infosphere available and easy-to-understand to every person.
5G and IoT are aimed at the expansion of the modern digital world and as a result optimization and automation of multiple processes. Thus, the realm of emerging technologies would gain an established presence in people’s everyday life. They would boost manufacturing performance, make information easily accessible and improve living standards.
Find out more about 5G in Russia at the VI international Internet of Things forum scheduled for March 27 in Moscow.