Small Cell Forum Identifies 5G Use Cases to Drive Industrial IoT


Small Cell Forum (SCF), the telecoms organization making mobile infrastructure solutions available to all, has published research describing the commercial and technical realities of deploying dense indoor 5G networks, which will be essential to support varied requirements, in particular for Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) networks.

The paper details how a flexible network with ubiquitous coverage and low cost of deployment will be essential to fulfil the enterprise potential of 5G and drive new revenues for vertical industries and for their service providers – which may be mobile operators, neutral hosts or enterprise specialists.

As service providers contemplate not only the dizzying array of IoT use cases, but also the uncertainties at this early stage about business models and architecture choices, the SCF paper provides an invaluable starting point and a practical, business-focused blueprint to help members start on their IoT journey.

It also helps stakeholders decide on their first priorities for addressing this new opportunity, and advocates a platform approach which will maximize the return on investment in IoT and enterprise small cells, and avoid technology or commercial dead ends.

The technical paper, 5G era IoT use cases and enterprise small cell (SCF 198), completes a three-part series addressing the three cornerstones of the 5G business model. Previously published research in the series focusses on enhanced mobile broadband (mmw 5G-eMBB use cases and small cell based hyperdense networks, SCF 197) and ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC and slicing in 5G small cell networks, SCF 199).

Together the papers make up a compelling commercial and technical deployment map for dense 5G networks, covering the specific implications for small cells of the three main use case categories.

SCF198 is particularly focused on enterprise networks, particularly indoors, which will have to behave very differently from 3G or 4G systems if they are to support IoT applications effectively. These are challenging environments, involving huge numbers of devices, low power consumption, and a wide variety of network traffic patterns ranging from low bandwidth, low latency monitoring applications to machine-to-machine video.

“Small cells are the only way to support all the many connectivity requirements of different IoT services cost-effectively. They can be used to fill gaps and achieve true universal coverage, including indoors,” said David Orloff, Chair of Small Cell Forum. “Critically, they can provide hotspots of capacity where huge numbers of sensors and devices need to be supported in a small area, and their low power levels fit well with the low energy nature of many IoT use cases.”