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What Fleet Managers Need to Know About 5G

6 minute read

By 2025, over 65 percent of the world will be covered by the 5G network. Adapting to new technologies can be if labour-intensive, but 5G can hold the key to a lot of new value in the fleet industry. Here’s what fleet professionals need to know to prepare for the 5G rollout.

What is 5G?

The new cellular generation is the fifth, hence 5G. It comes on the heels of 4G, and currently is being built off the 4G LTE spectrum. The benefits of 5G are numerous, including:

  • Speed: 5G can reach download speeds up to 600 times higher than 4G – that’s 10 gigabits per second. Keep in mind that download speeds will vary depending on the wireless spectrum, among other things.
  • Wireless spectrum (low, mid, and high band): There are three different wireless bands delivering 5G. Each has a different combination of delivery speed and geographical range.
    • Low band: It’s not the fastest, but it covers the most distance. Low band is especially promising for covering remote areas.
    • Mid band: Seen as the sweet spot between range and speed, this is where most providers focus cell phone coverage.
    • High band: This is where 5G achieves its headline-making, ultrafast speeds. This is also where the range of coverage is lowest.
  • Low latency: Latency measures how fast a device can send a message and receive a response. High latency occurs when there is a lag. Low latency means the response time is faster than blinking. Low latency is a key selling point of 5G’s capabilities.
  • Flexible numerology: This fancy term boils down to smart network management. Essentially, flexible numerology refers to separating and assigning frequency ‘lanes’ based on network use.

5G Devices and Network Connectivity

It’s important to note that only 5G devices can access the 5G network. Granted, 4G will be around for a long time – at least until 2030 – so it’s not necessary to replace everything yet. On the other hand, if your fleet relies on 3G devices for key operations (such as ELDs), you should make replacing them a priority. As 5G covers more of the globe, many providers are shutting down 3G networks.

Making timely updates can get fleets the benefits of the 5G network faster and can also save time in the long run.

5G and the Future of IoT

5G has promising – and slightly different – opportunities for Massive IoT and Critical IoT. Both can benefit from the significant speeds and low latency that 5G can offer.

Massive IoT requires the connectivity of large amounts of devices, but these devices are usually low energy and emit small bits of data that are then used in larger data sets.

5G has the capacity for significantly more devices to be connected to the tune of 100 times more than 4G. This is promising for increasing device connectivity in fleets. For example, low-energy devices can be attached to more items and provide even more insight for real-time logistics.

Critical IoT has fewer devices that handle much larger amounts of data. It also focuses on connectivity that is time-sensitive and cannot fail.

For example, Critical IoT can be used to advance telemedicine and smart cities. A network glitch for a device providing telehealth in a remote area has a bigger impact than a glitch in a device transmitting a smaller data packet in a Massive IoT network.

The low latency capacity of 5G can increase network reliability for Critical IoT. If devices are transmitting large amounts of data, it is crucial that this data is not hindered by slow networks.

There’s also a lot of excitement about the future-forward advances of 5G, like making highways full of self-driving cars a reality. Low latency will also help in this area, but we’re some time away from flawless vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

Nevertheless, the advancements we’re likely to see in the near future help lay the foundation of what’s possible in transportation connectivity.

Faster Network, Better Fleet Connectivity

Fleet managers have a lot to look forward to with 5G’s capabilities. As the rollout begins, it’s also important to stay realistic.

It can be helpful to start by evaluating what 5G plans are offered in your service area, as well as performing cost-benefit analyses on 5G upgrades. There will most likely be hiccups along the way, but the fleet industry stands to benefit greatly from 5G’s faster, reliable connectivity.

Want to learn more about resilient connectivity for fleet IoT solutions? Reach out! Our KORE Fleet experts are ready to talk when you are.

Check out our latest eBook, "The Fleet Manager's Guide to the Internet of Things".

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Topic(s): Connectivity , Fleet , Featured , 5G

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