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5G: Low Latency, High Bandwith Communications

What's 3GPP 5G Release 16
All About?

By Steve Taranovich for Mouser Electronics

Sponsor: Amphenol SV

As you read this, 5G is rolling out across the United States.

Some people have a 5G compatible phone that can connect to an AT&T network, T-Mobile, or Verizon. T-Mobile was the first carrier to deploy a nationwide 5G network, but only in the sub-6GHz spectrum, and slower than an optimum mmWave speed will ultimately be. AT&T has the largest network, which is mostly composed of a sub-6GHz spectrum operation. Many of these networks have only sub-6GHz spectrum capability now with speeds the same as 4G. Verizon has the most widespread mmWave network, but it does not yet work at optimum performance levels.

Take heart, cellphone users. Slow rollouts happened in 4G, 3G, and prior rollouts. Patience is needed. We will get there, and when we do, the world as we know it will change drastically for the better.

Let's see where we are today in 5G technology with the latest 3GPP 5G release 16 completed on July 3, 2020.

What Exactly is a 3GPP 5G Release?

3GPP uses a system of parallel Releases that provide developers with a stable platform for the implementation of features at a given point and then allow for the addition of new functionality in subsequent releases.

Essentially, new technologies for 5G are maturing. When a technology, such as Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) or Multiple User-Multiple Input Multiple Output (Mu-MIMO), reaches another growth point in its mature development, 3GPP advises developers in a Release to proceed with that present stable implementation and can incorporate it into their system.

The Excitement of 5G Release 16

Release 16, centered on industry expansion, is called 5G phase 2. Let’s see what this all means, as far as where we are, in the pursuit of a fully operational 5G system (Figure 1).

3GPP 5G Release 16 will enable enterprises and industrial organizations, from manufacturers to healthcare, to access the functionalities that will allow them to move forward with new levels of automation, efficiency, and service.

timeline showing the 5G 16, 17 and 18 releases
Figure 1: 5G Release 16, 17, and 18 timelines (Image Source: 3GPP)

Six Important Aspects of 5G Release 16

5G New Radio (NR) Enhancements


With MU-MIMO, a base station can send multiple data streams, one for each User Equipment (UE), via the same time-frequency resources. MU-MIMO enables an increase in the total cell throughput/cell capacity. The base station will have multiple antenna ports, as many as there are UEs, which will be receiving data simultaneously. One antenna port is needed in each UE.

Essentially, more antennas will be deployed to achieve large gain from receive diversity and MIMO.

illustration of a MU-MIMOx

Figure 2: MU-MIMO sending multiple data streams, one for each UE, via the same time-frequency resources (Source: Qualcomm)

Multiple transmission and reception points (Multi-TRP)

These are macro-cells, small cells, pico-cells, femto-cells, remote radio heads (RRH), relay nodes, and more. Multi-TRP will improve reliability, coverage, and capacity performance via a mix of the above-mentioned flexible TRPs. This will enable exponential growth in 5G mobile data traffic, for example, when a wireless device at the cell edge can be served by multi-TRPs that will improve its signal transmission/reception, leading to increased throughput.

Better Link Reliability

Release 16 enables enhanced 5G Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (eURLLC) foundation to deliver even better link reliability (as high as 99.9999 percent) (Figure 3).

With IAB, not every small cell must have fiber going to it. Traditional fiber backhaul is costly. Also, using fiber to each cell site might not always be possible in many cases. Now, with Release 16, wireless radio connections can be used. mmWave backhaul will have more extended range when compared to traditional access. Finally, mmWave access and backhaul have the flexibility to share common resources.

illustration of features of 5G release 16
Figure 3: 5G Release 16 enhanced Ultra-Reliable, Low-Latency Communication (eURLLC) building upon the Release 15 URLLC foundation (Source: Qualcomm)

Integrated access and backhaul (IAB)

The IAB network is a cost-effective deployment option that will densify networks without the overhead of growing wired transport proportionally. Release 16 enables cost-efficient dense deployments. Coverage and capacity will be improved while lowering the cost of backhaul (Figure 4).

illustration of connections between technology for 5G
Figure 4: Release 16 also addresses standards for IAB, using part of the 5G radio for backhaul (Source: Qualcomm)

With IAB, not every small cell must necessarily have fiber going to it; traditional fiber backhaul is costly. Also, using fiber to each cell site might not always be possible in many cases. Now, with Release 16, wireless radio connections can be used. mmWave backhaul will have a longer range when compared to traditional access. Finally, mmWave access and backhaul have the flexibility to share common resources.

5G in the Unlicensed Spectrum

Release 16 is the first occasion in which unlicensed spectrum has been included in the 5G cellular service.

More spectrum globally will be unlocked, will enable new markets and verticals, and can achieve new deployment scenarios (Figure 5).

Work presently in progress to specify NR enhancements for a single global framework will allow access to unlicensed spectrum that will enable NR operation in 5GHz and 6GHz (for example, US 5925-7125 MHz, or European 5925-6425 MHz). NR-U should enable fair coexistence with already deployed IEEE 802.11/Wi-Fi systems.

diagram showing the difference between Anchored NR-U and Standalane NR-U
Figure 5: Release 16 introduces NR, for the first time, in the unlicensed spectrum. NR-U is New Radio-Unlicensed. (Source: Qualcomm)

5G in Time-sensitive Networking (TSN)

TSN over 5G networks is a requirement for industrial automation and other IoT applications. Let’s look at the Integration of TSN into applications with high demands on time synchronization. Such applications as mobile robots’ cooperative work with platooning, cooperative transport of goods on a smart factory floor, and other industrial mobile use cases are some prime areas for TSN.

In the realization of mobile use cases, wireline technologies cannot be used and must be replaced by wireless connections, which have to meet the high demands of the industrial landscape (Figure 6).

5G TSN adapters also enable the 5G wireless system to act as a TSN bridge with Ethernet connectivity. There will be precise time synchronization with generalized Precision Time Protocol (gPTP) at microsecond levels. This 5G, Release 16, wireless technology will enable traditional mobile broadband to rise to a new level regarding data rates, capacity, and availability.

diagram showing 5G as a TSN bridge
Figure 6: 5G, Release 16, brings support for TSN. Figure 6, reference 1 states that “the TSN network is controlled by a Central Network Controller (CNC). TSN and CNC are defined in a set of standards specified by IEEE 802.1AS” (Source: Qualcomm)

C-V2X Sidelinking with 5GNR

Release 16 NR C-V2X direct device-to-device communication mode (or sidelink) specifications will support advanced use cases that could enhance autonomous driving without using the cellular network. Sidelinking is essential because some V2X services just have proximity interest and need to keep operating even in spotty network coverage situations.

In today's 5G era, automotive and transport industries are moving toward an intelligent transport system (ITS), enabling many benefits, including improved safety, reduced traffic congestion, optimum fuel consumption, and a positive environmental impact. V2X communication is a key enabler of emerging ITS applications, which will allow vehicles to communicate with other vehicles, pedestrians, road infrastructure, and the internet (Figure 7).

Release-16 NR cellular interface and the NR sidelink interface are designed to enable platooning, advanced driving with such features as collision avoidance and cooperative lane change, extended sensors, and remote driving use cases.

5G VX2 sidelink diagram
Figure 7: Sidelink is essential for such use cases as public safety and data offload. (Source: Qualcomm)

Using V2X communication, real-time data related to overall traffic situations is collected and exchanged among users. This will enable safer, more coordinated, and smarter use of transportation networks.

For use cases that will require very low latency and high reliability–referred to as ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) applications–the 3GPP has improved the latency and reliability of the cellular interface in Rel-16.

Use case area Use cases QoS requirements Technical enablers
    Latency [ms] Reliability [%] Data rate [Mb/s]  
Plantooning Information sharing within or outside plantoon 10 99.99 65 LTE or NR broadcast (for limited cases) NR groupcast or unicast
Advanced driving Cooperative collision avoidance
Information sharing
Emergency trajectory alignment
Vulnerable road user detection
3 99.999 53 NR broadcast/groupcast/unicast
Extended sensor Collective perception of environment
3 99.999 1000 LTE broadcast (for limited cases)
NR broadcast
Remote driving Server or operator remotely controls a vehicle 5 99.999 Uplink: 25
Downlink: 1
LTE or NR unicast via cellular interface

Table 1: Requirements and potential technologies for V2X use cases considered in 3GPP (Source: Reference 5)

5G in IoT/NB-IoT within 5GNR

Release 16 provides the ability to deploy and manage low-power mobile IoT protocols such as NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) over the 5G core network.

NB-IoT is a standards-based, low-power wide-area (LPWA) technology developed to enable a wide range of new IoT devices and services. This technology greatly improves user devices’ power consumption, system capacity, and spectrum efficiency, especially in deep coverage situations. A battery life of more than 10 years can be supported for several use cases (Figure 8).

diagram showing an industrial facility and radio tower
Figure 8: A private network or non-public network will benefit from an industrial IoT case (Source: Qualcomm)

Benefits are a local dedicated network, dedicated resources, and independent management. The system is secure with cellular-grade security; sensitive data remains on premises. Finally, this system is optimized with a tailored performance for local applications with low latency, Quality of Service (QoS), and application programming interfaces (APIs) for managed third-party access.

5G brings to the party indoor and outdoor coverage, high data speeds, seamless handovers, and a public network fallback. 5G also provides industrial-grade reliability, latency, and synchronization (eURLLC and TSN). And finally, 5G brings interoperability with a global-standard vast ecosystem that is future proof with a promising 5G roadmap. 

Photo/imagery credits (in order of display)
Yingyaipumi - stock.adobe.com, MuhammadSyafiq - stock.adobe.com, metamorworks - stock.adobe.com, andrey_l - shutterstock.com

The Tech Between Us Podcast

Full Podcast (25:00mins)

Introduction (00:57mins)

Condensed Podcast (09:45mins)

Join us in our technology conversation with Dr. Matthieu Bloch of Georgia Tech as we discuss 5G's capabilities and applications.

Podcast Host

Raymond Yin

Director of Technical Content, Mouser Electronics

Podcast Guest

Matthieu Bloch

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Tech

5G Means Data Center Platforms
Must Evolve

By Alex Pluemer for Mouser Electronics

Sponsor: Amphenol ICC, Intel

The Keystone of a Seamless 5G Implementation

5G is the next frontier of cellular connectivity, but the new generation promises more than just faster download speeds and lower latency. The higher bandwidth and more comprehensive coverage 5G is expected to deliver will open up various new use cases for connectivity beyond just cellular phones, ranging from laptops and handheld Internet of Things (IoT) devices to automobiles and large-scale industrial implementations. Industry forecasts predict that 5G will gain over 1 billion subscribers by the mid-2020s as the migration from 4G devices that aren’t compatible with 5G networks takes place.

However, transitioning to 5G will require a major investment in new cellular infrastructure. 5G architecture will change substantially from preceding implementations. Driving these changes are some of the key characteristics of 5G that have evolved from the fourth generation. We’ll review these key characteristics and then see how these will affect the data platform architecture for a typical 5G system, and explore the implementation options for various levels of data platforms and identify typical implementation options. We’ll also look at an example mid-range data platform in detail to identify key design choices and trade-offs.

5G Characteristics Drive Implementation Architecture

Low-band 5G cell towers operate on a frequency range similar to 4G cellphones (from 600MHz to 850MHz and provide similar range and download speeds (30Mbit/s to 250Mbit/s). As a result, low-band 5G is already being phased out in many areas of the world. Mid-band 5G towers employ microwaves of between approximately 2.5GHz and 3.7GHz, significantly increasing download speeds to the 100Mbit/s-900Mbit/s range while expanding coverage range by several miles. Mid-band 5G towers are already the norm in big cities and other high-population areas and could soon become the worldwide standard.

High-band 5G currently operates in the 25GHz-39GHz range and delivers download speeds similar to cable internet service, which is about 1Gbps. High-band 5G does have limitations, however. Operating at the 25GHz-39GHz range is on the low end of the millimeter-wave (mmW) band. mmW has a more limited range than microwaves, meaning high-band 5G will require a greater number of smaller cells to cover the same area as mid-band 5G. Physical obstructions such as walls or home appliances can also limit high-band 5G connectivity. mmWs also don’t negotiate solid objects well. High-band 5G is also much more costly than lower-frequency technology. As a result, high-band 5G might be limited to large, relatively open facilities such as concert venues and sports arenas in the near future.

A hand holding a tablet up inside of a stadium recording it
Due to 5G high-band being limited by walls/obstructions, high-band 5G may bex available only in areas such as sports arenas (Source: Alida Latham/Danita Delimont - stock.adobe.com)

The Pyramid of 5G Data Platforms

Factors such as coverage range, required download speed and cost efficiency have to be considered when determining the 5G hierarchy level for a specific implementation. The 5G distributed data platform places data processing, storage, and communications at various levels of the architecture hierarchy to optimize cost, power, network performance, operating distance, and user features. Closest to the network’s edge are small pico-platforms that cover small distances (tens of meters) within a building or facility. Common examples include building automation, security, factory floor module monitoring, and control. On the level above edge devices are aggregation platforms that stitch together all the edge devices and consolidate and optimize data traffic over a distance of approximately 100M. These devices are often located at the building or small campus level and can analyze, filter, combine and prioritize communications, sometimes with artificial intelligence (AI) cooperation.

Intermediate platforms are positioned on the level below massive central data centers (core) to deliver quicker responses. These responses are often algorithm-based selected by and periodically updated from the core. These platforms provide the real-time control needed for the platforms closer to the edge. Data analysis and tracking from these platforms can provide value and new income streams to the platform providers. Cost savings from operations such as predictive maintenance, material tracking and routing, system management, and data traffic load balancing can be passed on to the user (perhaps for a subscription fee or percentage of the savings).

Big data operations are run on core data-center platforms. These massive data processing and storage facilities hold years' worth of historical operations and complex machine-learning algorithms that provide the optimization filters and processes to program intermediate platforms for quick responses?and added value to customers.

Evaluating Different Types of Data Center Platforms

At each level of the 5G hierarchy, different requirements and trade-offs are presented to the designer:

  • Small platforms are the most cost-, footprint- and power-constrained elements of the system. They need to be easy to install and require a mid-range lifetime because several are needed for each aggregation platform. MCU-based implementations can be used here since they provide the low cost, low power, and small footprint required while making some minor sacrifices regarding flexibility and processing power.
  • Aggregation platforms require significant flexibility, processing power, intermediate storage, and security. Field-programmable gate array-based implementations can provide a maximum amount of flexibility and processing power since the underlying hardware can be reprogrammed as needed for new protocols, new AI algorithms, or new value adds to customers. FPGAs can also be easily scaled, allowing providers to create different product tiers with varying flexibility and processing power levels at different price and value points.
  • Intermediate platforms require the highest level of raw processing power, security, and flexibility. Cost, power consumption, and footprint are acceptable sacrifices. At this level, a hybrid combination of memory protection units (for raw processing power of common operations) and FPGAs (for flexibility and adaptability) will be the optimal implementation approach. The FPGA can even be reprogrammed in real time on an as-needed basis to respond to the increased need for important features such as video processing, encryption, decryption, searching, and filtering. AI algorithms can even predict such needs by analyzing clues they find in key metrics such as occupancy, traffic patterns, weather, etc.

How an Aggregation Platform Works

Let's take a look at a mid-range featured aggregation platform to see how key features are implemented within the device. Utilizing an FPGA with an on-chip microcontroller allows the device to begin operation from the MCU, providing a known secure starting point for boot and secure updates. This root of trust uses robust and protected encryption, decryption, and security key storage operations to thwart hackers and viruses from taking over the system. The MCU can also handle standard operations such as communications, packet processing, video processing, compression, and storage efficiency. The on-chip FPGA hardware can be used for the less common but processing-power-intensive operations to keep the MCU freed up for common operations that must be completed in a timely manner.

Source: FlashMovie - shutterstock.com

The FPGA can be used for digital filtering, image processing, image recognition, and similar special operations, perhaps in conjunction with AI and machine-learning algorithms to predict and program the hardware on an as-needed basis. Over time, new algorithms could be identified, created and downloaded from intermediate and core platforms to further optimize performance and to create new revenue streams for the platform provider—and cost savings for the customer.

5G will mean bringing together cloud, core and the edge. However, it's important that each of these runs on—or has access to—the right types of infrastructure. A core will always be needed, even with the importance of edge computing for 5G, but as 5G connectivity proliferates and the number of 5G-enabled devices continues to grow, so will the need for small and intermediate distributed data center platforms for those devices. Computing from the core all the way down to the edge will be the hallmark of the 5G-enabled world. It will be a world in which thermostats and refrigerators to planes, trains and automobiles are connected to the same cellular network as cell phones.  

Photo/imagery credits (in order of display)
Shuo - stock.adobe.com, David Tadevosian - shutterstock.com, metamorworks - stock.adobe.com. studioworkstock - shutterstock.com, PALERMO89 - shutterstock.com

Understanding the 3GPP 5G Release 16

5G visualization with multiple colors

BLOG: Understanding the 3GPP 5G Release 16

5G New Radio (NR) reached a very exciting milestone on July 3, 2020, with Release 16 of the 5G standard. We’ll explore the six key aspects of the release and some of the most exciting, including sidelinking, Multi-TRP, the unlicensed spectrum, and time-sensitive networking (TSN).

Read more »

Enabling 5G and the Future of Robotics

By Barry Manz for Mouser Electronics

Sponsor: Analog Devices, TE Connectivity

If robotics and cellular communications seem strange bedfellows, it's because the fifth generation of wireless, 5G, is the first to wirelessly address the need of such applications rather than just increasing data rates and expanding coverage as previous generations did.

This ambitious standard, called IMT-2020 by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that globally regulates them, will accomplish this by completely revolutionizing the way cellular networks are built, the devices they can connect with, the frequencies at which they operate, and the applications they serve.

The fifth generation of wireless technology will pave the way for a new generation of robots, some free to roam controlled via wireless rather than wired communications links and exploiting the vast computing and data storage resources of the cloud. Armed with these capabilities, robots can be precisely controlled dynamically in near real time, and be connected to people and machines locally and globally. In short, 5G will fully enable applications such as the “factory of the future” and many, many others that were previously beyond the capabilities of both cellular and robotics technologies.

But Will They Still Need Us?

There's a lot of controversy these days surrounding robotics and how along with artificial intelligence (AI) they will come to rule the world, including some containing rather draconian prospects for the fate of humanity. The champions of robots believe they will complement people rather than replace them, and perform some functions that humans aren't very good at anyway. On the other side is some who believe that robots can take the place of humans in manufacturing and other industries, eliminating millions of jobs. Whether or not robots will ultimately look down their artificial noses at humans remains to be seen, but 5G is almost certain to let them function more efficiently and serve more applications than ever before.

Robots are already ubiquitous in manufacturing, of which the auto industry is perhaps the most obvious example. Other key applications examples include industrial and medical. The innovations within 5G will expand their capabilities so much further that it will be necessary to expand the definition of what a robot really is. So autonomous vehicles are robots, executing instructions from a vast array of sensors to make decisions and perform functions, presumably a lot more accurately, reliably, and faster than humans. Gyrocopters and other unmanned vehicles fit this category too.

A drone helicopter in yellow launching a a helipad
A rendering of what a drone taxi could look like for personal or medical use (Source: chesky / stock.adobe.com)

To understand the synergy between 5G and robotics, no better example is healthcare where robotics have immense potential. Not only will robots perform mundane functions such as transferring things from place to place in a hospital, aided by 5G communications and the cloud, but they will also enable telesurgery in which operations are orchestrated remotely by doctors and performed locally by robots. This was demonstrated for the first time back in 2001 when endocrine surgeon Jacques Marescaux (1948–) removed the gallbladder of a patient in Strasbourg, France while sitting at a console in New York City—a distance approximately 6,200km away—during an event appropriately called Operation Lindbergh.

Flip forward to about 2025 and imagine operating rooms in one hospital populated by robots and humans connected by 5G through the cloud to surgeons anywhere on Earth who orchestrate the surgical procedures. They could be aided by specialists in one or more locations who can lend their expertise, all in real time.

Fantastic though this might seem, it's just the beginning: Using virtual reality (VR)—and the ever-present cloud—it should be possible to convert an imaging scan into a virtual, three-dimensional (3D) representation of a patient.

Using this "digital clone", the surgeon would then remotely orchestrate the operation on a virtualization of the patient while one or more robots perform the actual surgery. The doctor would have a tactile yet virtual "experience" as bones, tissue, and organs will all "feel" differently. The full measure of telesurgery won't be possible for perhaps a decade but will continue to advance in stages as 5G and robotics mature.

surgeons in surgical gear and vr headsets looking a 3d visualization of a heart
It may be possible for surgeons to use VR to direct while robots perform the actual surgery (Source: Gorodenkoff / stock.adobe.com)

So Why Not Now?

Besides the fact that the robots and the entire “ecosystem” required to enable telesurgery and other next-generation robotic applications are still in their infancy, current 4G networks simply do not have the characteristics required to make them possible. That is, as they require virtually instantaneous response times, it will be essential to reduce a metric called latency to unprecedented levels. Latency is basically the time span between when input is initiated at one point in a communications link and when it returns with error-free input from another point. Low latency is vital for high reliability machine-centric communication for robotics of tomorrow.

Current 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) cellular networks have round-trip latency of about 50ms but to enable applications such as robotics the 5G standard recognizes that <1ms will be required, a colossal technical challenge. Other promised benefits of 5G, such as cloud computing and increasing data rates, are relatively “simple” when compared to reducing latency to such a minute level, as it faces the immutable laws of physics.

To understand this, consider that the speed of electromagnetic radiation in a vacuum is 3 x 108m/s. As the Earth's atmosphere is not a vacuum this top speed is reduced ever so slightly because of atmospheric air. However, its propagation speed is dramatically reduced by further considerations, including the optical fibers, terrestrial and satellite communication links, and the electronics and interconnects through which a signal must pass. The upshot is that the shorter the physical distance between Point A and Point B, the lower latency time can be. This this is how 5G intends to accomplish its goal of reducing this metric to <1ms.

5G will require the number of data centers that collectively form the cloud to be dramatically expanded geographically, as a data center in one location is likely to be too far away from most other locations to reduce latency time to acceptable levels. This expansion, combined with data rates greater than 1Gb/s and the use of new cellular frequencies—an order of magnitude higher than those presently employed—will be essential ingredients that allow distances ranging from 1–100km to be covered with <1ms latency.

The Factory, Reimagined

5G will play a crucial role in creating the factory of the future, another application in which <1ms latency is essential. In combination with the almost limitless processing and data storage available in the cloud, 5G communications will allow robots in next-generation manufacturing environments to do far more than they can today. Robots will be able to exchange large amounts of information between themselves and the factory workforce, revolutionizing the "shop floor" along with other 5G-enabled devices such as wearables and technologies such as augmented reality (AR).

a man in a yellow hard hat looking at a readout next to a automation robot
Manager engineers control and check automation robots in intelligent factory. (Source: Suwin / shutterstock.com)

As robots will become mobile and able to interact with people, significant increases in production throughput should be achievable along with greater product quality and operator safety. To maintain very low latency throughout this reimagined factory, it will be necessary to rely heavily on edge computing within the network. Edge computing brings intelligence and functionality to the “edges” of a network where the actual applications reside, similar to what distributed computing achieved decades ago.

Robots on the Field

The “untethering” of robots via 5G and GPS-based geolocation will allow them to perform functions impossible today. For example, in agriculture, robots could wander through fields monitoring growing conditions and sending video and other sensor information back to a computer located virtually anywhere, or even perform activities such as spraying, pruning, and harvesting. A company called FFRobotics has developed what it calls a fresh fruit robotics harvester that combines robotic controls with image-processing software algorithms that allow it to find and distinguish between saleable and damaged produce as well as between fruit that is neither ripe nor dead.

lady farmer looking at a tablet with an automated tractor and drone in the background
Not the usual vision of a robot, but robotic nevertheless, this tractor can traverse fields commanded by 5G, allowing one controller to supervise multiple tractors. (Scharfsinn / shutterstock.com)

A technology called High-throughput Plant Phenotyping (HTPP) combines genetics, sensors, and robots that could be used to develop new crop varieties, as well as improved nutrient content and tolerance to environmental conditions. This would be accomplished using the sensors on robots to measure various characteristics and send their findings back to for analysis to scientists who could be located virtually anywhere. Other robots are being developed to plant and track seeds to improve the efficiency of farming and many other aspects of agriculture that people now perform. In the future, many are likely to be performed by remotely controlled machines.

It's important to keep in mind that 5G won't simply transform robotics overnight, as many of the applications and technologies to achieve it are today either embryonic, in development, or just on the drawing board. Rather, 5G should be viewed as the beginning of a new era in telecommunications that fully enables robotics and many other applications for the first time. In addition, mobile robots are also a long way from being a mature technology and it will likely take years before they are massively deployed in applications ranging from manufacturing and production to agriculture, search-and-rescue operations, wide-ranging search and rescue operations, and many others.

5G will require enormous levels of innovation in every aspect of the network, from the development of millimeter-wave communications systems to software-defined and virtual network architectures, and new wireless access methods that make it possible for many robots to operate in a small area without interfering with each other. Looming above it all is latency, which researchers must find a way to reduce to virtual insignificance. 

Photo/imagery credits (in order of display)
Negro Elkha - stock.adobe.com, metamorworks - shutterstock.com, graphixmania - stock.adobe.com, ikuvshinovtock.adobe.com

Then, Now and Next

Sponsor: Microchip Technology

Take a bite size look on the tech landscape of 5G - where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. Then explore more with our partner Microchip Technology »

Applications of 5G

Applications of 5G

Much more than the next evolution of a cellular network, 5G will unlock a world of tech opportunities that impact every sector you can imagine. Here are just a few:

Medical arm with smart watch tablet with brain scan surgical robot

With Advanced Wearables

Use IoT medical devices to enhance personalized and preventative medical care.


Quickly and reliably transfer high resolution medical imaging.


Reducing latency speeds from 2 seconds to 2 milliseconds will enhance the field of telerobotics.

Industrial Automation industrial robotic arm small fetching robot automated tractor


Robotics in 5G-connected factories will see significant increases in production, product quality and operator safety.


Wireless robots will reconfigure themselves based on incoming data/changing market needs.


Automation will go beyond factory walls. In agriculture connected vehicles will monitor fields, perform tasks, and transmit data.

Transportation car with ADAS system semi truck with a tablet heads-up display in a car


Real time transmission of traffic data will revolutionize automotive safety.


V2V communication will make rerouting fleets and tracking cargo more efficient.


Take seamless and delay-free music video streaming on the road.

Partner Focus Qorvo two mobile phones communicating wirelessly a 5G tower representation of a city with iot applications


Enhancing the capacity of fixed wireless access and mobile-to-mobile communication.


Supporting 5G infrastructure with massive MIMO, carrier integration, and other high-performance wireless solutions.


Using ultra low power RF connectivity to deploy 5G-enhanced IoT like machine-to-machine, smart cities, and AR/VR.


With Advanced Wearables

Use IoT medical devices to enhance personalized and preventative medical care.

arm with smart watch


Quickly and reliably transfer high resolution medical imaging.

tablet with brain scan


Reducing latency speeds from 2 seconds to 2 milliseconds will enhance the field of telerobotics.




Robotics in 5G-connected factories will see significant increases in production, product quality and operator safety.

industrial robotic arm


Wireless robots will reconfigure themselves based on incoming data/changing market needs.

small fetching robot


Automation will go beyond factory walls. In agriculture connected vehicles will monitor fields, perform tasks, and transmit data.

automated tractor



Real time transmission of traffic data will revolutionize automotive safety.

car with ADAS system


V2V communication will make rerouting fleets and tracking cargo more efficient.

semi truck with a tablet


Take seamless and delay-free music video streaming on the road.

heads-up display in a car




Enhancing the capacity of fixed wireless access and mobile-to-mobile communication.

two mobile phones communicating wirelessly


Supporting 5G infrastructure with massive MIMO, carrier integration, and other high-performance wireless solutions.

a 5G tower


Using ultra low power RF connectivity to deploy 5G-enhanced IoT like machine-to-machine, smart cities, and AR/VR.

representation of a city with iot applications

More 5G

5G lettering on multi-colored background

5G Resources

Access additional 5G technical content from Mouser including articles, videos, eBooks and more.

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