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Wireless 5G and Smart Cities

(Bay Area, San Francisco, California - Jeff M. Wang)

Using Technology To Make Urban Living Better


Wireless 5G Can Enable Smart Cities



- The Smart Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Cities

Cities around the world are adding technology to improve the environmental, financial and social aspects of urban life. Cities that use technology in this way to improve the lives of citizens and improve communication between residents and city officials are called smart cities. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about connectivity and processing, and there is no better example than a smart city. Nearby smart sensors will record everything from walking routes, shared car usage, building occupancy, sewage flow and temperature 24/7, with the aim of creating a comfortable, convenient, safe and clean place for the people who live there. Once the model is perfected, it can serve as a model for other smart communities and even smart cities. 

However, the potential benefits of cities make IoT technology particularly compelling. Cities of all sizes are exploring how IoT can improve efficiency and security, and this infrastructure is increasingly being rolled out around the world. Transportation is likely to lead this change, as bringing connectivity, intelligence and automation to roads and public transport has proven to significantly improve efficiency and experience.


- Wireless 5G Will Bring Smart Cities To Life

Managing the resources and operations of so many megacities can only be cost-effective and efficient if they are automated and connected—a fundamental premise of smart cities. 

5G has the potential to help cities increase citizen engagement and build smart city ecosystems around services, atmosphere, sustainability, inclusivity, and equity. 5G will serve as the foundation for small cell networks, powering cities' next-generation wireless network infrastructure. The connectivity and computing power enabled by wireless 5G will make smart cities a reality as city officials can adopt new technologies to solve smart city problems. 

One factor expected to play a role in smart city development is 5G, which makes the lightning-fast delivery of streaming analytics more realistic. The rollout of 5G will spark a race to build applications to take advantage of the many market opportunities it creates. 

Another area where smart IoT is gaining ground is in the automotive industry, where self-driving cars will be the norm in the next few years, and a large number of vehicles today have a connected app that displays the latest diagnostic information about the car. This is done through IoT technology, which is at the heart of connected vehicles. Diagnostic information isn't the only IoT advancement we'll see in the next year or so. Connected apps, voice search and current traffic information are some of the other things that will change the way we drive.


- Wireless 5G And Internet of Things (IoT) Revolution

5G and the Internet of Things have real potential to create smart city networks on which new applications and services can improve the lives of citizens. Sensors must be placed everywhere to collect data. For example, in a 5G-powered IoT-equipped city, streets , buildings, public and personal devices need to be connected to each other. Integrated video analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) can adjust traffic signals and flow, reducing congestion and travel times. Vehicle automation is expected to be the top use case for 5G adoption in IoT applications. The faster network speeds and reduced latency of 5G could allow doctors to treat patients remotely, reducing the risk of network interruptions, disconnections and delay times. It could also accelerate the adoption of telehealth services and procedures, such as sharing large digital images to remote areas and performing remote robotic surgery. 

The vast amounts of data generated by these sensors then need to be communicated, analyzed and fed back to the infrastructure to influence changes in smart city operations. Wireless 5G is an enabling technology for the Internet of Things, which refers to smart networked devices with more fixed functions than a generic smartphone, tablet, or computer, as smart cities essentially operate on the Internet of Things. 5G is inseparable from smart cities. 5G brings a vastly improved platform that can provide the world with scalable and reliable connectivity. 5G will play a key role in allowing real-time transmission of information gathered by sensors to a central monitoring location.


- Machine-Type Communication (MTC)

Machine Type Communication (MTC) is expected to play an important role in 5G systems. MTC is further divided into "massive machine type communication" (mMTC) and "ultra-reliable machine type communication" (uMTC). 

mMTC is suitable for a large number of IoT devices, which is actually a large number of sensors and actuators sending large amounts of data back and forth. Example applications include smart buildings, logistics and fleet management, and air and water quality monitoring. 

uMTC is suitable for applications where the data cannot tolerate latency and the critical nature of the data requires guaranteed and accurate transfer to the destination. 

Examples of uMTC applications include driverless applications such as autonomous vehicles, telemedicine, traffic safety control, and grid control. mMTC is suitable for a large number of IoT devices, which is actually a large number of sensors and actuators sending large amounts of data back and forth. 

- Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC)

Multi-access edge computing (MEC) is another enabling technology in 5G that will have a major impact on smart city deployments. MEC is basically an architecture that provides compute and storage capabilities to applications at the edge of an internal network. This cloud-based service environment allows real-time, high-throughput, low-latency access to applications that are inherently intolerant of latency. In traditional centralized network architectures, these delays are caused by traffic having to traverse the entire network to a central point and back to the end-user device. 

MEC use cases in 5G include all applications where processing and performing analytics on stored data cannot tolerate the typical delays associated with uploading data to the cloud network core, performing processing, and then downloading the results back to the end user. This requires pushing processing and storage to the edge of the network and, where possible, to end users. 

Examples of MEC use cases include: 

  • Self-driving cars that need to use machine learning techniques on large datasets to analyze and adapt to the environment. This is edge computing.
  • Video surveillance, which inherently creates large amounts of data as its records. Edge computing allows critical processing and analysis for high reliability motion detection, pattern recognition, and more.
  • IoT generates massive amounts of data, so it often needs to be aggregated and analyzed to understand and control the environment in which they operate. Edge computing allows these big data transfers and analysis to take place close to IoT clusters and the edge of the network.

Thus, data generated by IoT devices can be processed at the edge of the network. This reduces bandwidth and energy consumption across the network and eliminates the need to go through a central cloud server. Specific smart city applications that can benefit from MEC include smart lighting, waste management, smart parking, water metering, and environmental monitoring.


- Network Slicing

Network slicing is the key to meeting the diverse needs of 5G and is ideal for IoT and smart city applications. Designing a network that can simultaneously support multiple use cases and demanding performance requirements, and have a standard set of network capabilities, is simply not practical to implement. On the other hand, "network slicing" is the key to meeting the diverse needs of 5G and is ideal for IoT and smart city applications. 

Network slicing enables network elements and functions to be easily configured and reused within each network slice to meet specific needs. A slice looks like a single network, including the core network and RAN. However, due to the implementation of network virtualization software, each of these slices can have its own network architecture, security, quality of service, and network configuration. 5G effectively makes network slicing a low-security, low-bandwidth network for one application and a high-security, high-reliability network for another.



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