1. The increasing popularity of new wireless standards
From 5g and Wi Fi 6 to Bluetooth 5.0 and standard based low power wide area network (lpwan) protocol, I believe that the wireless standard just starting in 2019 will have a huge leap in maturity and adoption in 2020.
5g is everywhere, and with the release of the 16th edition, which is expected to be finalized later in 2020, 3GPP is working towards a “full 5g vision.”. This version includes new technologies for ultra reliable low latency communication (urllc), and has many improvements in mobility, power consumption and spectral efficiency compared with the current version. Devices and equipment with new functions are being further developed.
The new wi-fi6.0 (also known as 802.11ax) not only has 30% to 40% faster data transmission speed than previous products, but also has better efficiency and performance in densely populated areas. Bluetooth 5.0 and its derivatives, Bluetooth 5.1 and 5.2, can realize more accurate location search and greatly improve the range and throughput. In the field of lpwan, carrier based standards such as nb-iot and lte-m continue to develop, while new open standards such as etsits103357 emerge as the times require to supplement proprietary solutions such as sigfox and Lora / lorawan.
2. Wireless applications across vertical industries
In all vertical areas, the adoption of wireless technology will continue to increase. In the past few years, all wireless technologies have made significant progress (e.g., faster speed, lower latency, higher quality of service), and they can be easily used in a variety of products for rapid installation and deployment. Especially in the case of iiot, which requires high connectivity of sensors and telemetry, wireless solutions become more and more important.
Industrial digitization to improve operational efficiency as well as process transparency and sustainability is still in progress, which provides a huge opportunity for the entire wireless solution. In this case, connected devices and sensors become important promoters of back-end machine learning and AI solutions, and back-end machine learning and AI solutions rely heavily on data availability and reliability to fulfill their commitment to intelligent data analysis.
3. The demand for bandwidth is increasing rapidly
The exponential growth of wireless devices will inevitably be accompanied by the continuous growth of bandwidth usage. To meet this demand, the Federal Communications Commission has provided additional licensed radio spectrum for telecommunications services. Some of the 600 MHz bands commonly used for television broadcasting are now available for 5g “low band” mode. In this way, cellular mobile operators will be committed to extending their networks to most rural areas to achieve nationwide 5g coverage.
Different from the dedicated licensed band, unlicensed band will face increasing congestion from a large number of coexisting wireless networks due to its unlimited accessibility. Radio traffic from Wi Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, thread and other technologies has flooded the license free and globally available 2.4GHz spectrum. With more and more wireless protocols used for long-distance large-scale Internet of things deployment, license free sub GHz band with more regional division is rapidly catching up. At the same time, I believe the challenge of cross system interference will be greater and greater.
4. New ways to promote spectrum efficiency and radio coexistence
In view of the increasing shortage of limited radio resources, more innovative technologies will be developed and adopted to mitigate interference between adjacent radio systems operating in the same unlicensed frequency band. The gateway’s solution on chip can manage the coexistence of different 2.4GHz technologies to reduce the risk of performance degradation and data loss. For example, turn off ZigBee when using Wi Fi, or delay Wi Fi transmission to improve the reliability of Bluetooth messages.
In asynchronous networks such as lpwan, advanced technologies on the physical layer are needed to improve spectral efficiency and enhance robustness against interference from other systems. Specifically, the combination of low bandwidth usage, short broadcast time and frequency hopping can improve the network reliability and scalability by several orders of magnitude without affecting the battery life.
In 2020, we will see the adoption of lpwan technology specially designed to solve the interference problem in unlicensed spectrum increase.
5. More and more software defined radio technology is used
Software Defined Radio (SDR) is a kind of RF communication method, in which most signal processing tasks are completed by software or firmware rather than special radio chip. SDR is an advanced radio technology, which needs a lot of software development. Therefore, not all wireless solutions currently incorporate this approach into their designs.
From the perspective of users, SDR based technology has great advantages in customization. By upgrading the software on the gateway / base station, it is easy to modify or improve the wireless system functions on the existing and future IT hardware. More importantly, the SDR method allows the same hardware platform (IOT gateway) to support multiple frequency bands and radio protocols to simplify deployment and provide backward compatibility with old radio equipment on site.
In the process of emerging new wireless protocols and standards in 2020 and beyond, SDR technology will quickly gain attention and promote the scalability and interoperability of IOT architecture.