5G Networks to be Mainly Used for IoT Communications: Gartner


Gartner survey reveals that two-thirds of organizations intend to deploy 5G by 2020. However, one major issue that 5G users face is the lack of readiness of communications service providers.

A new survey by Gartner has revealed that 66 percent of organizations have plans to deploy 5G by 2020, with Internet of Things (IoT) communications as the most popular target use case. The next most popular use case is video.

While 59 percent of the organizations surveyed expect 5G-capable networks to be widely used for IoT communications, 53 percent of the respondents chose video.

Major issue facing 5G users

Sylvain Fabre, senior research director at Gartner, said that in terms of 5G adoption, end-user organizations have clear demands and expectations for 5G use cases.

However, according to him, one major issue that 5G users face is the lack of readiness of communications service providers (CSPs). “Their 5G networks are not available or capable enough for the needs of organizations,” Fabre pointed out.

To be able to fully exploit 5G, he said, a new network topology is required, including new network elements such as edge computing, core network slicing and radio network densification.

“In the short to medium term, organizations wanting to leverage 5G for use cases such as IoT communications, video, control and automation, fixed wireless access and high-performance edge analytics cannot fully rely on 5G public infrastructure for delivery,” the researcher added.

Status of 5G Deployment

Gartner has predicted that, by 2022, half of the CSPs that have completed commercial 5G deployments will fail to monetize their back-end technology infrastructure investments, due to systems not fully meeting 5G use case requirements. “Most CSPs will only achieve a complete end-to-end 5G infrastructure on their public networks during the 2025-to-2030 time frame as they focus on 5G radio first, then core slicing and edge computing,” said Fabre.

This is because CSPs’ 5G public networks plans vary significantly in timing and scope, according to Fabre.

CSPs will initially focus on consumer broadband services, which may delay investments in edge computing and core slicing, which are much more relevant and valuable to 5G projects, he elaborated.

Private networks for enterprises

To meet the demands of businesses, technology product managers planning 5G infrastructure solutions are advised to focus on 5G networks that offer not only 5G radio but also core slicing and edge computing infrastructure and services for private networks.

CSPs alone may not fully satisfy the short-to-midterm demands of organizations that are keen to deploy 5G quickly, Gartner study noted.

“Private networks for enterprises will be the most direct option for businesses that want to benefit from 5G capabilities early on. These networks may be offered not only by CSPs but also directly by infrastructure vendors — and not just by the traditional large vendors of infrastructure, but also by suppliers with cloud and software backgrounds,” said Fabre.

5G to deliver up to 1 million sensors per square kilometre

The figure for IoT communications took the researcher by surprise as other proven and cost-effective alternatives, such as Narrowband IoT over 4G and low-power wide-area solutions, already exist for wireless IoT connectivity.

However, Fabre agreed to the fact that 5G is uniquely positioned to deliver a high density of connected endpoints — up to 1 million sensors per square kilometre.

“Additionally, 5G will potentially suit other subcategories of IoT that require very low latency. With regard to video, the use cases will be varied. From video analytics to collaboration, 5G’s speed and low latency will be well suited to supporting 4K and 8K HD video content,” the researcher said.