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Webinar “5G global outlook”: questions & answers

Recently we held a webinar on 5G. Here, our experts respond to the additional questions we received after the live stream concluded.

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Jelte Jansons, Product Manager Managed Connectivity
December 8, 2020

 You can watch the video “5G Webinar“ and read the white paper “5G for IoT“.

What are the use cases enabled specifically by 5G?

We believe that 5G is an evolution of 4G, where many 4G use cases can be done much better, at a larger scale or more efficiently. Please read more on our blog post 5G use cases.

What are the differences between LTE-M & NB-IoT?

LTE-M and NB-IoT are both Mobile IoT technologies that are introduced during the 4G era and which will be available throughout the 5G life cycle. LTE-M is a simplified version of regular LTE, which provides most of the characteristics of normal 4G LTE including mobility and can handle software updates. NB-IoT is a completely new radio technology designed for maximum efficiency, but using it will require an architectural redesign of data communication. Learn more about the differences between LTE-M and NB-IoT in our white paper.

Will 5G replace WIFI and/or 4G?

5G and WIFI technologies are used for different use cases. Like in the 4G era, WIFI networks will still be used for most connectivity in 5G, especially in the home and offices where mobility is not needed.

We believe that 5G will not replace 4G, operators will use 4G LTE on lower radio frequencies and 5G new radio for higher frequencies. We expect that both 4G and 5G will be used together for years to come.

Please find more details in our blog post Will 5G replace WIFI.

Can you explain why better indoor coverage?

Which frequencies are used? How about steel walls? How do we solve the indoor coverage in 5G as the spectrum is in higher MHz?

Mobile Technology such as LTE-M and NB-IoT provides better indoor coverage though automatic repetition of signals and variance in the radio signaling strength. LTE-M and NB-IoT often use the lower frequencies like 2G and 4G. For higher frequencies smaller cells and beamforming is used to get better indoor coverage.

Steel walls are a challenge for any radio signal. The steel used in modern buildings can create similar effects as a Faraday cage, blocking and disturbing signals. To reach these locations smaller cells are needed to reduce the distance between radio tower and device.

A combination of repetitions, smaller cells and beamforming will be used to continue improving indoor coverage.

Beamforming is it for steering of quality?

The effect of beamforming will be a perceived increase in quality, but the primary goal of beamforming is to send more data to a device. This is done by advanced signal processing techniques that uses multiple antennas and focuses the signals to one device instead of spreading it to all directions within a cell.

Use cases such as video streaming, like remote working, will deliver a smoother experience, because data is focused on one device. This will enlighten the user and give a feeling of quality and reliability.

Why choose radio instead of fiber when this is available?

It is not necessary to choose because 5G and fiber will together . Fiber is the technical backbone of 5G networks, because fiber is used to connect base stations and other telecommunication equipment. 5G radio is mainly used for the “last mile”; the communication from cell tower to device. More info on IoT communications and protocols as well as IoT connections can be found in our What is IoT – a guide to IoT terminology.

Fiber can also be used to power WIFI networks. WIFI will still be used for many use cases, but only mobile technology, like 5G, can provide instant global connectivity. (See also the answer on “Will 5G replace WIFI” above).

Do you foresee any new issues or challenges related to cyber security arising from 5G use cases, eg. due to an increase in end point devices?

Any device that is connected needs security management and a secure design from the start, irrespective of the technology, from 2G to 5G from Bluetooth to WIFI. Please read more on our blog post 5G use cases.

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