Thursday, November 3, 2022
Cellular IoT will grow into 2030, thanks, in part, to new 5G standards specifically tailored to IoT usage, Strategy Analytics finds.
“Automotive and industrial, along with healthcare, will drive the 5G growth in 2030,” Waseem Haider, principal analyst for IoT strategies at Strategy Analytics, told EE Times. The analyst firm predicts that in 2030, 5G IoT connections will rise to cover 47% of the entire cellular IoT market—growing from the mere 1% of IoT links supported by 5G in 2020.
This means that by the end of the decade, 5G connections will be nearly as common as 4G LTE. 4G links will make up 49% of the cellular IoT market by 2030. The two standards are expected to cover nearly the entire cellular IoT market, replacing 2G and 3G cellular IoT connections that are now starting to be phased out across the world.
5G steps up for IoT
5G really hasn’t really made an impact in the IoT market yet. The 5G ecosystem is only just getting started, industry watchers say.
Most mobile carriers still need to roll out standalone 5G, which can support 1 million 5G devices in a square kilometer. This is far more than the 2.000 devices that can be supported in a square kilometer on a 4G network, and, in part, why private 5G networks have started to take off as they enable enterprises to test out IoT deployments on a wide scale and on their own campus networks.
Enterprises are now beginning to move to private networks based on 5G New Radio (5G NR).
“All the major automotive OEMs and healthcare providers will be using 5G NR for their 5G Private networks,” Haider said.
Companies are doing asset tracking, automation, autonomous vehicles, surveillance and more on their private networks, he added. “For example, here in Germany, Daimler, Volkswagen, BMW and others have deployed LTE/5G private networks and will be using 5G RedCap once rolled out in future.”
5G New Radio Reduced Capability (5G NR RedCap) is a specification that can support wearable devices and other IoT gadgets, such as wireless security cameras, on a 5G radio network. The first RedCap spec was completed as part of Release 17 of the 3GPP’s 5G standard in March.
The initial RedCap blueprint will deliver a chipset that serves up 30 to 80 Mbps. It will probably cost more than $10, but that’s still less than multi-gigabit 5G chips cost. These RedCap chips will arrive commercially around mid-2023.
After that, an Enhanced RedCap (eRedCap) specification will follow in Release 18 of 3GPP standard. This, Haider said, will “build on the rather limited capabilities of RedCap” by adding in new elements like a higher data transmission rate and direct device-to-device communications for connected vehicles and other IoT devices.
Release 18 is expected to be frozen in 2024. Companies will begin to develop eRedCap chipsets in 2025, with commercial releases the year after that.
“We can expect a rollout at around 2026 or later,” Haider said.
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