December 9, 2023

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Will 5G and 6G wireless networking disrupt traditional industries?

5 min read

Will 5G and 6G wireless networking disrupt traditional industries?


Will 5G and 6G wireless networking disrupt traditional industries?

Leaders in nearly every industry are considering new connectivity technologies.

McKinsey says they should see advanced connectivity as a key enabler of revolutionary capabilities. 

A connection is a faster, better, and increased data transfer between endpoints.

In 1979, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) pioneered the deployment of 1G technology in Tokyo, starting the race for wireless connectivity, and 40 years later, 5G and 6G technologies lead the world.


Will 5G and 6G wireless networking disrupt traditional industries?


Advanced connectivity technologies, including 5G, 6G, low-Earth orbit satellites and other technologies, are driving growth and productivity across industries, with investments reaching $166 billion in 2021, according to McKinsey’s 2022 Technology Trends Outlook.

Unlike other new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the adoption rate of this technology is high.


In a report shared by Market Research and Future, the organization explained that the COVID-19 pandemic is an important catalyst for the global implementation of 5G.


Market Research Future says 5G technology can change industries faster, with greater capacity and less latency, and will impact transportation, banking systems, traffic control, telehealth, agriculture, digital logistics, and more.


New technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), new smart cars, and augmented and virtual reality applications in virtual reality also require faster download times and more real-time data communication. 5G and 6G are expected to drive these new trends.


Market Research and Future explained that the deployment of 5G is not without its challenges. The standardization of spectrum and the complexity of 5G network installations stand out.

The MIT Technology Review added that 6G will also face challenges, requiring interdisciplinary innovation, new chips, new equipment and software.


Will 5G and 6G wireless networking disrupt traditional industries?



Technical challenges for 5G and 6G

The next generation of cellular technology that offers higher spectral efficiency and high bandwidth has been debated.

As McKinsey explains, many are still wondering if 5G can completely replace 4G LTE networks, and what percentage of networks will have 5G.


As of May 2022, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association has identified 493 operators in 150 countries to invest in 5G technology, and an additional 200 companies have 5G-ready technology.

By the end of 2020, the number of newly released 5G smartphones increased by 164%, and the number of cataloged 5G devices increased by 60%.


While new consumer products have quickly adapted to 5G capabilities, industrial and commercial equipment has not.


“Moving from 4G LTE to private 5G may not be cost-effective for all players; it will depend on players’ technical aspirations and planned use cases,” – McKinsey & Company


Market Research Future explains that a huge market opportunity is driving this very competitive market, which is expected to reach $689.6 billion by 2027.

However, infrastructure equipment, equipment and software providers have been holding back growth.


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) explained that 6G shares similar challenges as 5G, but also brings new ones.

6G engineers must work on the infrastructure, equipment and software to build the next generation of communication systems.

6G connectivity cannot be achieved by simply extending or updating today’s technology.


MIT added that 6G uses a more sophisticated active antenna system that further integrates other radio access technologies such as WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network), Bluetooth, UWB (Ultra Wideband) and satellite.

Incorporating all of these technologies into smartphones requires reimagining components such as chips and radio transceiver technology.


“This will require very creative electrical and computer engineering as well as disruptive industrial engineering and power management,” MIT explained.


The new 6G chips are critical to handling the increased computing power.

Low latency — the ability to process large amounts of data messages with minimal latency — is already a challenge for 5G and will be even more challenging for 6G technology.


Low latency is critical for interactive data, real-time data and applications, and virtual environments or digital twins. These are the requirements of the artificial intelligence, metaverse and industrial sectors.

6G latency will be reduced by using nearby devices to generate signals on the 3D network.


To address these issues, the development of new semiconductor materials, intelligent manipulation, artificial intelligence, and digital twin technologies are used to test concepts, develop prototypes, and manage and enhance networks.


McKinsey emphasized that 5G has proven that only a few telcos can profit from 5G, resulting in a good return on investment (ROI).

Therefore, capital expenditures and maintenance costs will also be closely watched.

Additionally, significant capital investment is required to build new technologies and networks, another business challenge.




Promote interconnection and realize industrial innovation and subversion

At its plant in Dresden, Germany, Volkswagen replaced wired connections between machines and now uses wireless technology to enable car OTA and connect driverless cars to edge cloud servers.

Michelin uses new connectivity technology for real-time inventory management, and Bosch equips its first factory with 5G, automating it, connecting hundreds of endpoints and synchronizing robots with human factory workers.

These are just a few examples from McKinsey of how advanced connectivity is disrupting industries.


Connectivity is expected to increase the rate of data creation by 25% annually, connect 51.9 billion devices by 2025, and have an impact on global GDP (gross domestic product) of more than $2 trillion.

Additionally, 5G and 6G are expected to help bridge the digital divide, enabling hundreds of millions of people to be connected for the first time.


In automotive and assembly, 5G and 6G are used to enhance maintenance and navigation, prevent collisions and drive the first autonomous vehicles.

Medical devices and sensors connected to low-latency networks will improve patient treatment and monitoring through real-time data, significantly impacting the treatment of chronically ill patients who require constant review.


Aerospace and defense are using 5G to increase their capacity and performance, while retail is improving inventory management, supply chain coordination and payment processes, and using the technology to create metaverse experiences.

The construction and construction industries are printing 3D structures and using high-speed digital twins and applications, while the mining and natural resources sectors are moving towards intelligent exploration and development by practicing digitization and automation of operations.


Leaders in nearly every industry are considering new connectivity technologies.

McKinsey says they should see advanced connectivity as a key enabler of revolutionary capabilities.

From digital transformation to increasing efficiency through automation and enabling technologies that rely on high-quality connectivity such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things, connectivity will continue to drive how the world works and lives.


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