5G and the Internet of Things

What’s next for IoT as we enter the 5G era?

Entering the 5G era

As of 2019, there were an estimated 22 billion connected devices on the planet with almost 9 billion of them being smartphones connected on cellular. The rest is the countless million devices, machines & equipment connected to the internet. The number of cellular-connected devices is expected to surge from around 800 million worldwide right now to over 4 billion in the next 4 to 5 years and one definite driver for that accelerated adoption will be the proliferation of 5G.

Types of 5G

There are three versions of 5G being built, and even though they differ in terms of network architecture, they will eventually work together. There are four major U.S wireless companies developing plans on how to build out 5G to their customer bases, these are namely — AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint. Their strategies depend on current wireless spectrum holdings. Below are the three versions of 5G:

Benefits of 5G

With IoT-enabled devices in mind, 5G technology connects devices at relatively higher speeds and minimizes lag. This makes 5G the most sought-after wireless technology when it comes to creating an excellent user experience regardless of what device, service, or application you are dealing with. Below are the top advantages of the release of 5G networks in a fast-paced world.

Improved data transfer speed

The success of any IoT device is directly linked to its performance. Quick and easy device communication is key to making quick and prompt decisions. 5G technology is expected to offer faster speed than current LTE networks. For example, when it comes to smart home devices, this increase in data transfer speed helps to reduce the lag and improve the overall speed at which connected devices send and receive data and notifications.

5G speeds compared

Every new generation of the mobile network is built to deliver faster speeds when compared to their previous ones.

Generations of mobile network and their speed
[Image Source: 5G: How Fast is It Compared to Past Networks? — LetsTalk.com]

Better network reliability

The 5G network’s high-speed connectivity, low latency, and more excellent coverage will be essential for IoT. To take advantage of these improvements, manufacturers must first invest in building 5G-compatible devices.

Industries that will benefit from the advent of 5G

The top three industries that will benefit the most with 5G technology in IoT are:

Improved Location Tracking in Transportation and Logistics logo

Transportation & Logistics

  • Improved Location Tracking — 5G’s advanced geolocation technology allows tracking all regions and even places considered dead zones before. 5G also allows better visibility over delays, which helps in finding the most optimized routes.
  • Safety and Reliability — Drivers stay in contact and get real-time alerts about road conditions, weather conditions, and reroute if necessary. Traffic lights can adapt dynamically, adjusting the lights to avoid unnecessary delays.
  • V2X Ecosystem — 5G will support a broad range of V2X and non-V2X use cases, including enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), massive Internet of Things (mIoT) mission-critical services.
Augmented reality for troubleshooting in Industrial and Manufacturing Operations logo

Industrial & manufacturing operations

  • Augmented reality for troubleshooting — Using augmented reality for troubleshooting, manufacturers can mitigate the cost of breakdown and reduce production downtime.
  • Maintenance — Sensors will gather information in real-time to tell you exactly when to change the tool or apart. The manufacturers identify the perfect time to procure a replacement for the faulty part, eliminating the device’s chance of being more damaged.
  • Remote operations support — 5G enables manufacturers to turn a machine on remotely. So they can start the device on their way to work, eliminating any delay, thereby increasing the efficiency of production.
Real-time Remote Monitoring in Healthcare logo


  • Real-time Remote Monitoring — Wearable devices powered by 5G enables doctors to monitor their patients remotely and get real-time data. According to Anthem, 86% of doctors say wearables, a common type of remote monitoring, increase patient engagement with their health. Additionally, wearables are predicted to decrease hospital costs by 16% in the next five years.
  • Expansion of telemedicine — Telemedicine requires a network that can support high-quality real-time video, which often means wired networks. With 5G, healthcare systems can enable mobile networks to handle telemedicine appointments, significantly increasing the program’s reach.
  • Quick transfer of large image files — Specialists use MRIs and other machine images for review. These images are usually large files, and transmission over low bandwidth results in slow or unsuccessful transfer.

The future belongs to 5G networks

The evolution of communication technologies from 2G/3G/4G to 5G is set to see tectonic shifts in both consumer & industrial sectors. In the years to come, we are set to witness large-scale automation of utility services, automobiles, and several smart city use cases.



Ajit is a Marketing & Product management professional with experience across Technology & Industrial engineering. He is the Co-founder & CMO at Cavliwireless.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ajit Thomas

Ajit is a Marketing & Product management professional with experience across Technology & Industrial engineering. He is the Co-founder & CMO at Cavliwireless.