Fallacy: Cities Cannot Be Smart Without 5G
While 5G is not a requirement for smart cities, this next-generation cellular technology will create opportunities for cities to use data and Internet of Things devices and sensors to improve people’s lives. Many U.S. municipalities have launched digitalization initiatives over the past few years, but none have built a fully operational smart city. Smart cities need robust wireless networks to transmit data collected by IoT sensors and to support millions of connected devices. 5G, which offers great coverage density, is necessary for high-bandwidth and low-latency smart city applications.
Fact: 5G Will CoExist with Other Wireless Technologies
5G will have to coexist with other wireless technologies for a variety of use cases when building smart cities. Whether it’s inside buildings together with Wi-Fi, in rural areas together with high-capacity satellites or in heavily populated cities together with fiber-optic networks, 5G will complement rather than replace these other forms of mobile broadband. Although 5G rollout is underway, it’s not expected to be widespread in the U.S. until at least 2025. Before 5G can reach the scale needed to support smart cities, 5G networks will have to become open, interoperable and standards-based. This will promote innovation and competition, making 5G more affordable to deploy.
Fallacy: 5G Is a Faster Version of 4G
While that’s somewhat true, 5G is a new technology that uses new frequencies and systems. It uses high-band spectrum and can transmit much more data than 4G. In fact, 5G was designed to be nearly 100 times faster than 4G. Latency, or how long it takes devices to communicate with wireless networks, is much lower with 5G. Another key differentiator: 5G is designed to be cloud-native and software-based, which means network functions that once depended on physical hardware can be offloaded to the cloud, according to the BSA Foundation.
Fact: Autonomous Vehicles Need 5G Connections
Autonomous vehicles must be able to operate safely and independently without human involvement in areas that have a high density of cars, such as highways and cities. To communicate with road infrastructure, self-driving vehicles rely on vehicle-to-everything technology that requires greater data transmission rates, greater reliability, low latency and response times of a few milliseconds. Today’s carriers and car manufacturers are building 5G-enabled autonomous vehicles integrated with these technologies.
Accelerated deployment of 5G wireless networks is necessary to bring autonomous vehicles to the masses. 5G will provide additional network capacity with the new frequency bands and the ability to manage many connected objects, including cars, sensors and infrastructure.