The 5G wireless standard delivers a unifying connectivity fabric that brings huge enhancements to today’s mobile broadband services. With 5G, mobile networks are able to support a considerable diversity of devices and services. As 5G networks emerge in 2019, speculation is growing about what use cases are possible. For example, 5G finally gives the Internet of Things (IoT) the connectivity it demands.
Early 5G Use Cases
- Fixed Wireless: One of the top 5G use cases will be fixed wireless access. Fixed wireless will provide Internet access to homes using wireless network technology rather than fixed lines. It will use 5G concepts such as millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum and beamforming to bolster wireless broadband services.
- Enhanced Mobile Broadband: The 5G standard promises to usher in the next era of immersive and cloud-connected experiences with faster, more uniform data rates at lower latency and lower cost per bit. The 5G standard will take mobile computing performance to the next level with high-speed, always-on, always-connected internet links with real-time responsiveness. The goal is to reach up to 20 Gb/s peak throughput and 1 Gb/s throughput in high mobility. The need for high-speed internet with real-time responsiveness is seen with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences.
Later 5G Use Cases
- Massive Machine-Type Communications: One of the most anticipated 5G use cases is the ability to seamlessly connect embedded sensors in virtually everything. The industry foresees huge numbers — as many as 20.4 billion — of potential IoT devices in service by 2020. Industrial IoT is one area where 5G will play a major role, enabling smart cities, asset tracking, smart utilities, agriculture, and security infrastructure (e.g. alarms or geofencing).
- Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications: This category includes new services that will transform industries with ultra-reliable/available low-latency links, such as remote control of critical infrastructure, and (popularly) self-driving vehicles. The level of reliability and latency will be vital to smart-grid control, industrial automation, robotics, and drone control and coordination
Future 5G Use Cases
Once everything is connected via 5G, use case opportunities will increase enormously as new services and applications emerge. Watch for vertical industries and national priorities — from healthcare to smart cities, to remote industrial machine operation, to virtual sports attendance — to experience revolutionary changes.
Updated March 2019