Mobile Devices

Non-cellular 5G standard gets ITU-R approval

20 October 2021

What is billed as the world’s first non-cellular 5G technology standard has been recognized by the International Telecommunications Union’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R).

Wirepas, a Finnish internet of things (IoT) vendor contributing to the standard, said the decentralized technology is designed for massive IoT networks for enterprises and includes features such as:

  • No infrastructure
  • No subscription fees
  • Free dedicated international frequency
  • Dense and massive network capabilities
  • One tenth the cost of cellular
  • Low carbon footprint

The standard allows 5G to reach anyone as enterprises can set up and manage its own network autonomously with no operators anywhere in the world. Because it eliminates infrastructure and has a no single point of failure, it can be operated at a tenth of the cost compared to a cellular network, Wirepas said.

“Wirepas opened its revolutionary mesh technology to everyone and the resulting new 5G IoT standard has been built ground up so that anyone, even small and mid-size companies, can afford and understand it,” said Teppo Hemiä, CEO of Wirepas. “This is the first technology that can cost-efficiently connect millions of devices. It’s the first step towards digitalization for masses with much more to come.”

The standard supports share spectrum operation enabling access to free, international spectrums such as 1.9 GHz.

Wirepas said with free access to dedicated spectrums, a private network could be established with multiple local networks in a mobile system. This is a fundamental requirement for massive digitalization for companies, it said.

What is non-cellular 5G?

Traditional 5G is operated through a network of base stations, end points and signal boosters to deliver fast speeds to consumers through a smartphone. It can also be used for home broadband through fixed wireless access, which uses the 5G cellular signal through a router as a means to generate internet connections to home devices.

Non-cellular 5G is a decentralized network where every device is a node, and every device is a router. The devices automatically find the best router and add new devices into the networking routing autonomously. If one device goes down, it re-routes to another eliminating single point failures.

Additionally, Wirepas said a recent study from Tampere University in Finland found a 60% better energy efficiency at the system level with non-cellular 5G compared to traditional cellular technology with the same radio energy profile.

Some of the applications that could be used with the 5G IoT standard include: Smart meters, Industry 4.0, building management systems, logistics and smart cities. It could potentially open new use cases for urbanization, building and energy consumption in the construction of smart cities as well as how mass levels of communications are deployed in the future.

“This new 5G IoT standard has been the missing piece in the wide-scale adoption of IoT,” Hemiä said. “We know today only 5% of things that will be connected, are connected. To connect the remaining 95%, we need to let go of how things have been done in the past and dare to go a different route. We see this new standard as the start of a new era for connectivity.”

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