The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has defined below 3 main application areas for enhanced 5G applications.
- Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB)
- Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC)
- Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC)
Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB)
eMBB uses 5G as a progression from 4G LTE mobile broadband services, with extreme data rates, lower latency, higher throughput, and more capacity.
With eMBB, the IMT-2020 goals are to support applications & services that require:
- Require high data rates or traffic densities such as peak download speeds up to 20 Gbps, user experience data rate up to 100 Mbps with only 4 ms latency
- In different service areas such as indoor/outdoor, urban and rural areas, office and home as well as local and wide areas connectivity
- In special deployments areas such as massive gatherings, broadcast, residential, and high-speed vehicles
- Immersive applications that need fast video downloads, ultra high definition screens, and augmented & virtual reality
Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC)
URLLC is required for mission-critical and time-sensitive applications such as autonomous vehicles, remote healthcare, emergency responses, and industrial automation.
With URLLC, the IMT-2020 goals are to support scenarios that require ultra-high reliability and 1-millisecond low latency communications for use in mission-critical applications that could mean life or death.
The overall service latency depends on the radio interface's delay, transmission within the 5G system, transmission to a server outside of the 5G system, and data processing.
Some of these factors depend directly on the 5G system itself. In contrast, for others, the impact can be reduced by suitable interconnections between the 5G system and services or servers outside of the 5G system, for example, to allow local hosting of the services.
URLLC example applications & services for industry automation include:
- Automated remote driving - which enables a remote driver or a V2X application to operate a remote vehicle with no driver or a remote vehicle located in a dangerous environment
- Automated rail communications (e.g., railway, rail-bound mass transit) - with URLLC, train operation can be fully automated with highly reliable communication with moderate latencies at very high speeds of up to 500 km/hr.
- Automated processes for reactive flows at refineries and water distribution networks
- Automation for electricity distribution (mainly medium and high voltage)
- Automation of road-side wireless infrastructure supporting street-based traffic, connecting different infrastructure units such as roadside units with traffic guidance systems.
Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC)
mMTC, is also known as massive machine communication (MMC) or a massive machine to machine communication, will support very high traffic densities of the internet of things (IoT) devices.
Gartner estimates over 20B IoT devices will be installed by 2020, while IoT-related spending will reach nearly $3T.
5G standards will have to include adaptable communication requirements for supporting the diverse range of communication needs required by IoT devices. The systems should be able to support battery-operated sensors with low-power and low-data rate requirements, in addition to the high-data-rate and low-latency requirements for industrial automation.
mMTC sample applications & services include:
- Smart cities - 5G is an enabling technology for IoT. As smart cities essentially rely on IoT to function, 5G will play a critical role in allowing information gathered through sensors to be transmitted in real-time to central monitoring locations.
- Smart metering enables smart grids to connect to water, gas, oil, and electric utilities. Utilities and consumers can get real-time info on water quality, temperature, pressure, consumption rate, and additional data collected via sensors and shared via a 5G network.
- Smart logistics - Many logistics services providers (LSPs) are already using IoT devices to track shipments' location using a combination of GPS and wireless connectivity. 5G will take this to the next level, as low latency would enable continuous, up-to-the-second tracking of the exact location of the goods