5G provides a series of complex new functions to support applications that are not practical or even impossible to implement in 4G, 3G or 2G environments. In order to take advantage of these functions, IoT system designers need to understand the three basic components of the 5G New Radio (NR) architecture:
1. Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) is an ideal choice for bandwidth-intensive fixed and mobile applications. It can provide gigabit broadband for homes where fiber or copper cables are expensive, slow or unavailable at all.
2. Large-scale machine type communication (mMTC) is not the key to bandwidth or latency, but they form the backbone of most IoT deployments such as smart cities or smart agriculture. The mMTC infrastructure is designed to support millions of IoT sensor systems in a given location. In contrast, 4G networks can only support thousands of users in the same area.
3. Ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) is designed to meet the extreme quality of service (QoS) requirements of mission-critical applications. For example, the delay requirements of telemedicine, Industry 4.0, and self-driving cars are single-digit milliseconds.
In the short term, availability is the biggest challenge in leveraging 5G capabilities. Although many operators have begun to deploy 5G, it will take several years for the distance to reach the same coverage level as 4G, and many functions of 5G are based on LTE.
Looking to the future, NR Light is also a related element of 5G, and the standardization community is working hard for the upcoming 3GPP Rel 17. NR Light is designed to meet the needs of low- and mid-range devices. These devices have higher requirements than narrowband IoT and LTE-M, but lower requirements than URLLC or eMBB, and are served by LTE, which is a wide range of 5G in all use cases. The adoption paved the way.
IoT system developers must also deal with other complexities of 5G. For example: Compared with 4G, 3G and 2G, the way 5G can accommodate a large number of connected devices is the expansion of radio frequency capabilities. System designers need to consider how their choice of band will affect communication coverage, antenna design, mobile operator certification and other issues.