Sagar Bijwe, Director of Engineering, Semtech is responsible for handling firmware development for a wide range of IoT modules, encompassing 4G, 5G, and LPWA (low power wide area) technologies. Industry Outlook recently got a chance to interact with Sagar, when he shared his insights on the significance of 5G, IoT technologies, and the integration of 5G and IoT technologies with the existing systems and infrastructures in the wireless service industry. Following are the excerpts from his insights.
Importance of 5G and IoT in terms of public safety, energy management and transportation
By making smart cities safer, greener, and more effective, 5G is revolutionizing them. It promotes collaboration between stakeholders including network operators, managed service providers, and technology suppliers. It facilitates real-time data exchange and speedy decision-making. 5G enhances public safety monitoring by integrating security cameras, intelligent streetlights, and emergency response systems. To support sustainable energy practices, adjusting usage based on demand pattern is important. 5G-enabled smart meters and building automation systems are actively contributing to the objective of optimizing energy distribution. In the field of transportation, 5G links automobiles, infrastructure, and traffic lights; enhancing management of traffic, improving road safety, and easing congestion. Real-time data from 5G IoT devices aids predictive infrastructure maintenance and autonomous car technologies.
Challenges and opportunities in the wireless service industry
With range of options in wireless technologies, for indoor or outdoor deployments, using license or unlicensed spectrums, for IoT or broadband use cases, it is crucial to choose the right wireless technology for any application scenario. Customers often lack awareness of the pros and cons of underlying technologies, for example, use of cellular compared to unlicensed technologies in case of smart meters. The opportunity is to provide a one-stop solution for different IoT scenarios, eliminating the need for customers to choose.
Connectivity remains a challenge, especially for 5G IoT devices in the field, which must be connected constantly across different geographical areas and environmental conditions. IoT devices may require advanced technologies such as wireless mesh to improve connectivity and coverage. Other challenges include optimized power consumption and data transmission protocols. Open and standard implementations are essential for interoperable deployments.
Data from devices is continuously pushed to the cloud, necessitating data management platforms and analytics. AI advancements are making data usage crucial for end-to-end business decision-making. With increased significance of data, ensuring security is vital to prevent breaches and unauthorized access.
Leveraging engineering expertise to drive enhancement in the wireless domain.
IoT technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ZigBee are being integrated to enhance the smart home experience. Likewise, unlicensed technologies in the LPWA space and licensed 5G LPWA technologies are also penetrating in outdoor environments. These technologies currently cater to different application scenarios. They can work together, complementing each other, improving the overall IoT picture. Combining diverse technologies in devices such as smart meters and asset trackers can lower hardware costs, power consumption, and device complexity by utilizing the same RF. These systems ensure reliable and effective operation with the help of different wireless technologies. The program aims to solve system-level communication issues in case of simultaneous operation of multiple wireless technologies as per end-user requirements.
Addressing the evolving demands of wireless service industry with the implementation of new technologies like 5G IoT
It is critical to address the challenge of providing continuous support to customers with dynamic nature of wireless technologies and continuous environmental changes. New technologies are typically introduced incrementally, so it is essential to have frameworks that cater to different application segments, such as low power cost-effective solutions and high throughput broadband categories. These frameworks can be reused across product lines, meeting the varying needs of applications. Human resources must also cultivate fundamental understanding of different wireless technologies and systems to effectively manage the intricacies.
Integration and Interactivity of 5G IoT Technologies with the Existing Systems and Infrastructures in Smart City Projects
There are several approaches to consider for cellular connectivity in IoT devices. One option is to use 5G cellular gateways to provide cellular connectivity to existing deployments. Other approach is to equip IoT devices with multiple radio technologies, allowing them to choose the correct interface based on their role in the network (gateway versus end-node). Yet another approach in low power wide area network is to have devices capable of supporting both NB-IoT and LTE-M. For deployment in North America, LTE-M is better, while NB IoT works well in Asia.
In the absence of 5G coverage, 4G still remains a viable option. Interoperability is crucial, with open and standard implementations ensuring communication and compatibility between devices and platforms. Regular software updates are essential to keep devices updated with new features and improvements in the evolving IoT landscape.
Mitigating potential risks and ensure the security and privacy of data transmitted through 5G IoT networks
Implementing robust encryption mechanisms is crucial for secure data transmission over 5G networks, protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access and interception. Essential security components include access control, secure storage of credentials, digital certificates, and device authentication employing secure boot. Additionally, maintaining data integrity throughout the transmission process is vital. Data integrity is ensured through checksum, digital signatures.
Regular audits and security assessments to identify vulnerabilities, risks, and infrastructure gaps, ensures data security by proactively addressing them. Online repositories and databases of vulnerabilities are maintained, and devices updated with security patches. Employees and stakeholders involved in network management are encouraged to foster a security-conscious mindset thereby avoiding social engineering attacks.
Pros and cons of wireless technologies compared to non-wireless technologies
Wireless technologies, unlike fiber-based broadband, offer benefits such as avoiding the need for infrastructure deployment and easy portability. In developed countries, network providers face challenges such as increased cost and infeasibility due to regulation while deploying fiber. Wireless technologies offer a more feasible approach with no requirements for digging. Additionally, wireless technologies allow mobility for the users. Wireless devices are also becoming smarter enabling them to cater more effectively to different end user needs. Overall, wireless technologies offer a more efficient and cost-effective solution for internet access in urban areas.
On the downside, wireless technologies frequently face challenges like interoperability, interference, and limited coverage. By using multiple wireless technologies, however, we are now able to overcome some of these limitations.
In summary, the digital evolution in communication has led to increased data-related demands. 5G is taking this evolution further, transforming human-to-human interaction into machine-to-machine interaction. This requires open and standard communication mechanisms between devices, which can be leveraged for development of Smart Cities. 5G IoT technologies are satisfying those requirements in various aspects, such as safety, energy consumption, waste management, metering, and street lighting. These technologies are becoming part of a homogeneous network, providing a comprehensive picture of the Smart City, ensuring its survival.