December 16, 2021

3 min

How 5G Will Push Forward IoT and Data Analytics

Faster wireless paves the way for Internet of Things use cases and network agility.

CDW Expert CDW Expert

With all the buzz around 5G wireless, many IT leaders are eager to know how it can help their businesses thrive. I’m here to tell you that there are many gains to be had from 5G. 

The first thing to know about 5G is that it’s all about speed — critical for any organization, but especially for those that want to implement Internet of Things technology. Retailers, for instance, can combine faster data transfer with IoT sensors to improve inventory management. In healthcare, 5G will shorten the turnaround for test results, helping physicians make care decisions more quickly.

The second point is that 5G is a foundational technology. It’s valuable in its own right, but it also provides capabilities that organizations can use as a springboard for other innovative initiatives. Widespread deployment of driverless cars for delivery, for example, will require high-speed connectivity to transmit data and facilitate safety-oriented artificial intelligence. 5G can make that happen much more easily than the current standard.

Here are three of the questions I hear most often from organizations that want to prepare for 5G, and how I respond to help people get their bearings with this technology.

What’s the Difference Between 5G Millimeter Wave and Sub-6 Gigahertz?

The 5G wireless standard has two categories: 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) and 5G Sub-6 gigahertz.

5G mmWave is ultrafast, but more expensive to implement. It provides substantial throughput for connecting to antennas, but only for short distances, which means more antennas are needed. 

5G Sub-6GHz is faster than 4G, but not quite as fast as 5G mmWave. However, it’s cheaper to roll out and, therefore, more accessible. 

Among the big players in 5G connectivity, Cradlepoint continues to lead the way. (Read about CDW’s recent designation as an Enterprise Branch Specialization partner with Cradlepoint.) The company works with carriers to ensure its products and solutions are optimized for 5G, and it provides the best range of possibilities for customers.

What Types of Use Cases Will 5G Support?

The enhanced IoT capabilities that 5G enables will be almost limitless. One use case: easing supply chain delays caused, in part, by shipping containers waiting for long periods to be unloaded at ports. IoT sensors on containers, connected via 5G networks, can provide real-time data about their location and movement to make shipments more efficient and processing faster.

5G will also give organizations more flexibility with networking; for example, they might use a 5G network as a temporary failover. Bringing fiber to a new office building takes time, so in the interim, a popup network using 5G routers and connectivity could allow users to continue working. By the same token, if a fiber network encounters an issue for any reason, it can automatically switch over to 5G, with a seamless transition and no loss of connection.

Organizations are also leveraging 5G to implement network segmentation for security; for instance, deploying a network for vendors or partners that is separate from the one used by employees.

How Will 5G Help to Advance Other IT Capabilities?

From a data perspective, 5G will be huge. The capacity to increase the number of IoT devices means organizations can generate much more data. In this landscape, faster throughput will speed up analytics and AI. 5G will be the backbone for both the sensors and the subsequent data mining.

Virtual and augmented reality also will get a boost, along with streaming video. All these technologies will take advantage of both 5G’s speed and its higher device capacity and throughput. 

Think of 5G as opening up the freeway from three lanes to five, six or even more. It’s not too early to start thinking about what your organization could do with all that room.

Story by Ray Dela Cruz, a Mobility solution architect and has been with CDW for more than 19 years. Ray has been supporting our West enterprise customers for more than five years and been in the Mobility industry for the past eight years.