5G: 5 Gorgeous advantages for fleets

A “5G” stands for the fifth generation of mobile networks. 5G networks represent a significant evolution of currently most advanced 4G networks alongside with broadening in uses of such networks. What’s new and cool can 5G bring to fleets and fleet management? Key 5G features include high speed (approximately 10 to 100 times faster than current 4G), high capacity, and low latency (meaning the delay reduction between the sending and receiving of information). One may ask – and so what, how it can benefit my business?

Nice point, since 5G actually can offer a lot more than just a fast 4K video download to one’s phone (no doubt – it’s also pretty cool). Advantages such as higher data rates, low latency and increased spectral efficiency provide 5G with a great opportunity to handle a plenty of sensors and/or devices in a dense area.

Therefore, 5G will significantly contribute to telematics development and fleet management in various ways, such as:

1) improving overall connectivity, millisecond timescales for data harvesting from vehicles

2) more advanced vehicle-to vehicle communication

3) greater traffic management

4) increased safety

5) Advanced ADAS and in-car augmented reality

Here we go – that’s ours “5 gorgeous advantages” – not to make it fun (well, not only), but just to name a few. Indeed, there are many more glowing in the dark… We are sure that each technology-driven telematics solutions provider, as well as any curious and open-minded fleet owner, would benefit from utilizing some 5G based solutions in the near future (subject to reasonable prices and broad network coverage, indeed).

5G: let’s dig into it a bit (while not burying ourselves)

What makes 5G a favorable option? 5G employs pretty rare radio millimeter bands in the 30 GHz to 300 GHz range. One of the most important 5G’s features is low latency. Some estimations claiming 5G latency to be 60-120 times faster than the average 4G latency.

Let’s try to be slightly techy here: 5G utilizes a scalable OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) and MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technologies. Well, acronyms do not make the story clearer (as usual), therefore let’s deal with them asap. OFDM is basically a form of signal modulation that provides some significant advantages for data links. MIMO is one of the forms of smart antenna technology for wireless communications. MIMO employs multiple antennas at both the transmitter/source and the receiver/destination. At each end of the communications circuit, antennas are combined to provide data speed optimization and errors reduction. 

We almost forgot about BDMA that stands for Beam Division Multiple Access. In this scenario, an antenna beam gets divided and allocated into the mobile stations positions to provide multiple accesses, thereby increasing the capacity of the system. A 5G mobile spectrum will provide significantly more capacity compared to currently available mobile technologies.

As a result, the above mentioned features combined with greater capacity and additional spectrum will enable more data, more users and faster connections. By utilizing small cells carriers using millimeter wave for the deployment of 5G, a total coverage area can be increased. Combined with beamforming (a signal processing technique that uses directional transmission or reception of signal, angular signal dependence and constructive/destructive interference) small cells can deliver extremely fast coverage with low latency.

On the image below one may see an example of  a local server in a 5G network, providing faster connection and lower response times. This picture demonstrates a local cloud server, providing low latency applications for vehicle collision avoidance and faster video streaming to the users.

5G: challenges and limitations

While 5G is a very promising and revolutionary technology, it is not ideal and obviously has limitations. Let’s list some important challenges of 5G implementation:

1) 5G is capable of handling more data and more users, but antennas have more limited range thus require further infrastructure development such as deploying more antennas, repeaters and base stations.

2) Building a network is an expensive and challenging task – as a result, end users will pay for it anyway.

3)There are various questions around availability and cost of 5G-enabling devices.

4) mm-Wave is unable to easily pass through physical objects, undergo atmospheric absorption and various scattering – again, more antennas and related stuff needed.

Despite these challenges, 5G indeed attracts plenty of attention and effort towards implementation. Ookla developed an interactive map showing all the 5G networks currently available in the world. Any interested person could follow this link to check it out: https://www.speedtest.net/ookla-5g-map. So far, there are 5700 of 5G networks commercially available. 

Many of the above mentioned challenges will be addressed with time by advancing technology, building the infrastructure, and mastering related standards. 

Another reasonable and important question is – how about the 4G destiny after 5G will be implemented? When a 5G connection is established, the device will connect to both the 4G network to provide the control signaling and to the 5G network to help provide the fast data connection by adding to the existing 4G capacity. Within the areas with limited 5G coverage, the data is carried on the 4G network, allowing continuous connection. Employing this design, the 5G would be a complementary network to the existing 4G.

5G: what’s next?

5G is rapidly evolving, attracting significant attention and with time becoming a technology everyone is moving towards. 5G will be able to support a huge number of different applications and accommodate plenty of data types. Many countries have started 5G trials and currently establish strategies for 5G deployment. Fleet owners are starting to understand that there is a whole new world of opportunities provided by 5G. However, 5G implementation is a challenging task, and is currently a question of time, funding, further technology development and entailed standards evolution.


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