Expectations for 5G

2021.03.19

Industry information

◆ Expectations for 5G by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) as expressed in the 2020 White Paper Information and Communications in Japan

On August 4, 2020, MIC published “Current State Report on Information and Communications” (2020 White Paper Information and Communications in Japan). This is an annual report that summarizes the current status of information and communication in Japan and trends in information and communication policy. This year’s white paper is a special feature on “Digital Innovation and the Construction of New Normal Life Prompted by 5G. It analyzes the new lifestyles that are advancing in the wake of the new coronavirus epidemic and the impact on various industries and fields as mobile communication systems evolve not only communication infrastructure but also lifestyle infrastructure, industrial and social infrastructure with the advent of 5G. The “Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications” characteristics of 5G will have a significant social impact, as users will be able to operate and control robots in remote locations in real time, and “Massive Machine Type Communications” will allow smartphones, PCs, and all other devices in the home to be connected to the Internet (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Before COVID-19 and with COVID-19

◆Applications that can take advantage of 5G are divided into features

The main features of 5G are “Enhanced Mobile Broadband”, “Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications” and “Massive Machine Type Communications” and applications that match these features are expected.

“Enhanced Mobile Broadband”: New video experience such as sports and concert broadcast
“Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications”: Solving problems in the field such as autonomous driving and telemedicine
“Massive Machine Type Communications”: Optimization of social systems such as smart cities

The domain of games is expected to drive the 5G market, as ” Enhanced Mobile Broadband” and ” Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications” are essential for cloud games, such as e-sports. In addition, VR/AR, which introduces history and culture with images according to location at tourist attractions, is also expected to grow.

◆Industrial fields where 5G is expected to be used

The timing of the 5G market launch is uncertain, but the most promising applications are for DX (digital transformation) in the industrial sector. By taking advantage of the features of 5G, such as “local 5G,” “QoS guarantee,” and “network slicing,” it can become a network infrastructure to solve problems such as productivity improvement, quality improvement, and worker safety.

“Local 5G” is a form of 5G deployment for which licenses have been issued since 2020. It is a system that allows operators to take the initiative in building, operating, and using their own 5G networks in specific areas, such as within their own buildings. “QoS guarantee” is a function that guarantees the quality of communication speed in a network and prevents communication from being delayed or stopped, which is important for networks in factories. “Network slicing” is a function that provides an appropriate network by virtually dividing a large number of devices connected with different communication contents according to their usage.

A wireless network infrastructure with guaranteed network quality that utilizes these 5G functions can easily accommodate changes in equipment layout and work with the optimal configuration. Although there are many advantages, such as guaranteed communication quality for AGVs and other robots, and less chance of trouble, there are still issues that require large capital investment. Many local governments and companies have actually obtained licenses for “local 5G,” and NTT Communications is collaborating with Bridgestone to conduct verification for various applications, such as wireless use of sensors in the tire manufacturing process and analysis of skilled workers’ skills using high-definition cameras.

The authors plan to proceed with verification based on the assumption.

This article was first published in the Asahi Research Center Watching Report and written by Makoto Narita, Asahi Research Center.

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