For many consumers, the promised increased throughput of 5G is the headline feature. For others, it might be latency or private networks. However, the ability to support a trillion or more devices may end up defining this generation of networking. A shift from people-scale networks to machine-scale networks.
At ARM TechCon today, October 8th, 2019, Arm CEO Simon Segars talked about how 150 billion ARM-based processors have already been shipped and his expectation that the rate of shipments would increase in the coming years as the Internet of Things (IOT) drive demand for 1 trillion endpoints. A level of connectivity that cannot be supported in today’s mobile networks which were designed to support connectivity of people. Networks now require connectivity of machines, and therefore, 5G is a fundamental technology required to achieve this possibility. Not surprisingly, Segars then sought to mitigate some of the skepticism about 5G by noting that there are already 80 global deployments.
Given the almost limitless possibilities for sensors and devices, and also given smartphone connectivity is now reaching maturity in many countries, perhaps the only thing possible of significantly driving connectivity requirements is IoT, in other words, machines.
There is a number of ways to provide faster networks. There may also be many ways of segmenting networks for privacy and security. Are all networks designed for machine-scale connectivity? This may ultimately be the issue that 5G succeeds or fails on.