By Martin Stiborski, Managing Director, BRESSNER Technology
5G networks are the key for a worldwide digital transformation, impacting AI and edge computing as well as smart cities, while also providing high-speed data transfer in real-time for enterprises across every vertical market segment. New applications are constantly emerging on the market, taking advantage of the cellular networks’ super-low latency and much higher bandwidth.
Radio waves with lower frequencies are used for farther travel distances, while higher frequencies can carry more data. 5G runs on radio frequencies ranging from below 1 GHz all the way up to very high “millimeter wave” (mmWave), achieving data speeds up to 10Gbps, but is capable of peak data rates up to 20Gbps, in theory. It is currently among the most viable options for facilitating edge computing applications such as autonomous driving, augmented reality or smart cities.
But is it really fast enough to keep up with the most demanding edge computing applications?
Before we can answer this question, let’s take a look at the most commonly known and most bandwidth-hungry edge computing application: Fully autonomous driving. There are three major types of technologies which are needed for autonomous vehicles to interact with their environment:
It is widely assumed that the latest 5G-network standard will help improve the safety of autonomous cars by providing long-range C-V2X communication, which is a primary requirement.
Even at lower level autonomy, connected level 5 cars generate about 25 gigabytes per hour. As complexity of the architecture increases, so does the number of car automation sensors. The combined bandwidth of RADAR, LIDAR, cameras, ultrasonic, etc. can reach up to 40Gbps. As a reference, Tesla’s autopilot system already generates up to 28Gbps with 8 integrated cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors. The real question, however, is which type of information needs to be transmitted, and if it’s time-critical or not.
Autonomous driving field tests on German highways such as A9 have shown that even LTE networks can handle latencies of 15 milliseconds. Most time-critical information such as traffic alerts, moving-car data, map updates and critical sensor data have latency requirements of up to 100 milliseconds. Therefore, 5G should be sufficient for enabling more advanced levels of security in autonomous driving, and any other high-speed data transmission at the edge, assuming that the relevant areas are covered with enough network capacity to handle the demand.
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