What Makes 5G a Preferable Network in Smart Cities?

What Makes 5G a Preferable Network in Smart Cities?

By Gov CIO Outlook | Wednesday, September 18, 2019

5G—leading to more intelligent transportation and traffic management will be the future of smart cities.

FREMONT, CA:  After a long interval, the spur of 5G network is at its infancy, leading us to a new era of connectivity. Stepping up from 4G to 5G offers massive upgrades such as increased speed and latency, thereby, offering improved connectivity across the world. 5G wireless networks are now available in cities across the United States widely used in transportation and traffic applications. 5G will absolutely benefit a broad spectrum of the internet of things (IoT) sensors and devices. As 5G rolls out, the potential it offers to the smart cities will be endless in the near future. It provides the ability to connect a large number of devices that forms the basis of largely interconnected wireless infrastructure needed in a smart city. 5G will be a source of innovation that produces new solutions for cities with an increase in the number of IoT devices and advances in analytics and artificial intelligence.

Unique qualities of 5G – Fifth generation of cellular technology

It was a dream—a city reacting to the world around it—collecting information from people within and combining all data from sensors on roads, buildings, vehicles, and providing useful output. The dream has become a reality with the onset of 5G.

5G tops out at 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) that is 100 times faster than the current 4G cellular network, and has lower latency and delay in data communication over a network. This ultra-reliable low latency, higher data capacity, and denser connections compared to LTE make it suitable for the development of smart city solutions. When the latency of LTE networks range between 50-100 milliseconds, 5G requires a maximum latency of four milliseconds and less than that in many applications. This drastically reduces network lag. Also, 5G outpaces 4G by allowing a minimum of one million connections per square kilometer while 5G can handle only 2,000 simultaneous connections.

Applications in Smart Cities

Not all applications in smart cities rely on high data speeds and ultra-low latency. Some require high network bandwidth, such as smart parking. 5G can bring profound impacts in the areas of transportation and public safety with its ability to establish a connection across several IoT endpoints in real-time. Due to the rise in the vehicle count, severe traffic jams are being experienced nowadays, and it can be fixed by smart city technology.

In transportation, 5G will enable connected vehicles to have real-time, actionable data obtained from other vehicles and generate decisions to take a specific route based on the traffic and roadway. It becomes an essential component for super-connected autonomous vehicles for safe driving as well as for cars that are not autonomous but have 5G hotspots in them to enhance traffic safety. For example, in the US, comprising many coldest states, it is crucial to safeguard vehicles from hitting ice using sensors and direct the following vehicles to take a diversion from their path to avoid ice.

5G can also enhance two-way communication between vehicles for traffic, roadway information, safety alerts, crosswalks and traffic signals, tolling capabilities, and more. It can also help public safety agencies, providing them with an increased amount of data to enhance situational awareness and operational responses.

5G Infrastructure in Smart Cities

5G network is being deployed by wireless carriers on a rolling basis and was evident when Verizon deployed 5G to parts of Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, and Providence, RI followed by Detroit, Indianapolis, Washington, DC, and Atlanta. Verizon plans to extend its deployment in 30 cities by the end of the year. Similarly, other companies like AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are rolling out their 5G coverage in many parts of the US.

Many carriers are using millimeter wave spectrum for 5G that does not penetrate buildings and low-band spectrum below one gigahertz. This requires more cells, including small cells, especially in dense urban environments.

Larger cell towers are broken into smaller radio equipment and antennas to make the small cells that are placed on street lights, sides of buildings and utility poles. However, for traffic management, roadside units will need to be deployed for 5G. These radio antennas in the RSUs provide wireless communications from roadside infrastructure to units onboard vehicles for vehicle security credentialing and authentication. Considering the increased capability for communication between vehicles, cities must decide on the protocol to implement.

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