Development of IoT drives research into fifth generation (5G) mobile and wireless communication technology

As discussed previously in this blog, IoT (Internet of Things) is a network of physical objects accessed through the internet. These objects will have technology such as microchips embedded in them which will enable them to react to the external environment or internal states. Objects can therefore sense and communicate via the internet.

Benefits of IoT

The development of IoT is set to completely transform day-to-day life, making tasks such as shopping, traveling and working a whole lot easier. IoT will have the ability to alert you of traffic jams and help you to avoid them, inform you when you are running low on groceries and even order more for you, and give you the ability to control home and kitchen appliances remotely from smart devices.

IoT and 5G

It is believed that by 2020, 5G mobile networks will offer speeds of up to 10Gbps, with low latency and response times, making them key to the development of the Internet of Things. 5G will be essential to the development of IoT as it will not just be computers and phones that will be connected to a wireless network, but household appliances such as fridges, ovens, thermostats etc... Our automobiles, our bicycles, and even our clothing. Not only will our own personal possessions be connected via IoT but the entire infrastructure of the country will be connected, for example, the roads we drive on and the pipes that carry our water. In five years time it is estimated that there will be 25 times more devices on our wireless spectrums in the UK and current 4G services just do not have the capacity to support such growth.

Potential risks

Despite the potential benefits IoT has to offer, fears of security have also arisen through its development, as it will gather vast amounts of data that could give a comprehensive insight into deeply personal aspects of our
lives. This has the potential to create a worrying threat to our privacy, even in the safety of our own homes.

Just how fast will 5G be?

The potential benefits for 5G are massive. As a consumer you will be able to download a 1080p HD movie to your mobile in about one second. Also, thanks to the versatility of 5G, and its ability to scale, any kind of dropped connection should be a thing of the past. Due to the sheer speed of 5G it has the potential to eliminate the need for DVD, Blu-Ray and Video Game disks. Once networks can download a 50GB video game within minutes physical disks will quickly become obsolete.

Will 5G be expensive?

No, in fact it should be a lot cheaper than a 4G plan today. A 5G data plan could give you an allowance of up to 50GBs per month and yet cost half the price of your current 4G plan. The reason for this is due to the fact that the cost of delivering 1MB of data falls by around half each year. In 2008 the average cost of 1MB was 43p. Today it’s about 2p. By the time 5G is available it is predicted 1MB could cost around 0.001p.

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