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5G Brings Evolutionary Changes to the IoT

5G is the fifth-generation wireless cellular technology standard that promises ground-breaking new capabilities and to unlock the potential of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Extended Reality (XR) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

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What does 5G mean for IoT?

Lower Latency
2-5X faster

Higher Capacity
10-100X (More spectrum and higher spectrum re-use)

10-100X Connected Devices

Data Rates

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What are the Top 5G IoT Use Cases?

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Build smart factories with AI, AR, and robotics.

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Public Safety

Enhance real-time video, secure communications and media sharing.

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Supply Chain Management

Expand use of IoT sensors to increase production, streamline processes, and reduce costs.

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Introduce new capabilities such as high-definition streaming and virtual reality.

Why Semtech?

Semtech (formerly Sierra Wireless) has almost 30 years experience as a global leader in IoT.

Semtech has a successful track record of pioneering wireless innovations such as the world’s first multi-network 5G vehicle router, and is committed to delivering new 5G solutions to support network rollouts.


5G Modules

The EM91 Series and EM92 are 5G M.2 modules, supporting Sub-6 GHz, mmWave, and LTE technologies, and Sub-6 GHz and LTE technologies respectively. They support the latest 3GPP Release 15 and 16 standards. Enabling new 5G performance capabilities in industrial infrastructure, networking and other demanding broadband applications.


5G Routers

Semtech has introduced our highest performing router yet! The XR series is 5G, WiFi 6 and LTE-Pro capable and can deliver download speeds up to 4.14 Gbps. The XR series ensures you stay connected on today’s and future networks.

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5G for IoT: Designing Today & Preparing for Tomorrow

5G is arriving in waves and opening up new IoT applications that require high capacity, performance, and low latency.

This webinar provides the evolution, current status and future of 5G for IoT and how 5G technology enhancements will help you find the right fit for your product design.

Thinking of Upgrading to a 5G Router?

As 5G begins to roll out, the promise of faster speeds, lower latency, and increased spectrum efficiency is becoming real. To get the full benefit of 5G, the upgrade path from a 4G to a 5G router involves more than just swapping out the 4G modem of an existing 4G router.

This whitepaper identifies six things to consider when upgrading to 5G so you can experience the full benefits of 5G while maximizing the return on your router investment.


Frequently Asked Questions

Semtech (formerly Sierra Wireless) has over 25 years of experience serving mission-critical applications with cutting-edge mobile technologies. Building on this experience, Semtech has developed the AirLink XR router solution to support 5G implementations across various sectors, with a powerful set of features tailored to support mission-critical applications in the most demanding environments.

Semtech 5G routers offer the ultimate performance under extreme conditions, always-on connectivity with dynamic network switching for extra resilience and performance, multi-layered end-to-end security, and a future-proof solution with an innovative, expandable design.

Semtech routers are also backed by an entire ecosystem of services to ensure your devices operate at peak performance, optimal security and at the most efficient cost. These services include round-the clock support and extended warranty protection, over-the-air firmware, and security updates, always-on out-of-band management and best-in-class vehicle analytics that enable customers to track vehicle location, usage, and health.

Not only do we build solutions for our customers, but we maintain relationships with carriers around the world to our partnership with all major cellular carriers to ensure you have the performance and connectivity required for your mission-critical and business-critical applications.

While 4G and 5G networks will coexist for a long time, upgrading to 5G is more than a “rip and replace” task when it comes to cellular routers. 5G uses a new radio design as compared to 4G. This new radio delivers higher power, which requires system components and chassis to effectively dissipate additional heat. This is especially important for routers operating in extreme temperatures. Since 5G radios deliver faster connectivity, all router components, including processors, operating systems, and input/output devices, must operate at higher speeds.

High-performance 5G routers feature multi-core CPUs, Wi-Fi 6, and Gigabit Ethernet ports. As 5G has the capacity to connect to more devices, it also means that there are more opportunities/areas for cybersecurity attacks. Individual router security in addition to overall system security must be enforced to protect communications from device to cloud, across your enterprise. As 5G is a relatively new technology, it’s important to carefully review and evaluate the 5G router solutions that you will use for your business and industry and select one that has been architected for 5G.

5G delivers a significant upgrade to 4G LTE, including lower latency, higher capacity and higher speeds. Lower latency means that data can be transferred, updated, and refreshed faster. This is important for real-time applications in manufacturing, power grid controls, and self-guided autonomous vehicles. Higher capacity means that you will be able to operate more devices at a single time without bogging down your network. As the number of your connected IoT devices expands, this increased capacity requirement will gain in importance. Higher speed enables real-time video and data connectivity, which is critical for public safety, security sectors, real-time monitoring applications, and last-mile connectivity.

But the best news about 5G is that it’s fully compatible with 4G. When you move to 5G, your existing 4G devices and applications will continue to work as before on 4G networks. Sierra Wireless 5G routers can also automatically fall-back to 4G when you are outside of 5G coverage. This significantly reduces the risk associated with moving to 5G, and lets you leverage business gains faster. With an innovative expandable design, organizations that are not ready for 5G can also select the Sierra Wireless XR80 solution. The AirLink XR80’s cartridge-based design allows users to add 5G functionality in the future with a 5G cartridge that plugs directly into the router chassis.  Organizations want maximum performance today and a future-proof path to 5G can start with the Sierra Wireless XR80 LTE router and easily transition to 5G when the networks and their organization are ready.

5G’s superior throughput, latency, capacity, and flexibility will improve performance for various existing use cases and enable entirely new use cases.

  • Smart Cities: 5G is an excellent communications option for smart cities because of its ability to support far more connected devices per square kilometer than previous cellular technologies. This is important when deploying large numbers of simple, low-footprint sensor and control systems, ranging from smart lighting to smart meters, moisture sensors, air quality sensors, and pressure sensors in parking spots.
  • Enterprise Networking: 5G serves enterprise networking, including businesses with large numbers of distributed locations such as retail. It not only offers fast primary connectivity but can also provide backup connectivity, creating high-reliability connections to enterprise locations that depend on communications back to headquarters. Businesses can use 5G’s high-speed throughput to back-up a copper or even fiber landline connection.
  • First Responder Mobile Applications: First responders rely on high-bandwidth, low-latency communications in situations where every second counts. License plate cameras must be able to quickly check a vehicle’s details from any location, live streaming video from an incident back to headquarters needs to be crisp and reliable so that police, firefighters, or emergency medical staff can get advice on the best course of action. 5G’s low latency and high throughput capabilities make all these operations faster, giving them the intelligence that they need on the ground in tense situations.
  • Public Transit: Transportation has traditionally been a heavy user of mobile communications across its entire ecosystem, covering everything from fair payment systems to passenger Wi-Fi, updates on public transportation timing, security videos, and driver communications back to headquarters. As public transit operators layer these applications on top of each other, the more reliable and faster the wireless backhaul needs to be.

5G is not less or more secure than 4G by nature. But with 5G, the amount of data transferred and the number of devices on the network will explode, making security an even more important consideration. Security is made easier by working with trusted technology providers who understand these new vulnerabilities and are prepared to manage them. 

Effective security requires an orchestrated, multi-layered approach to defense, with multiple security layers on top of the 5G cellular service. These layers protect the integrity of the system, from device to network to cloud to end application. Here are the primary security layers for a 5G deployment, and a summary of how Sierra Wireless handles each:

  • Device-to-cloud security: As data travels from device to cloud, it traverses different network entities that may not provide the customer’s required level of security. To ensure end-to-end protection, especially on public internet connections, Sierra Wireless uses DTLS 1.2 with mutual authentication. Our devices are also provisioned with unique, cryptographically secure keys in the factory, and go through a bootstrap process to provision new unique, random credentials every 90 days. We also use cryptographically-secure device identities when initiating connections to the cloud.
  • End-to-end security architecture: Sierra is committed to the secure the complete system including the router, local devices, enterprise connections, and management.  Local access can be secured with MAC address filtering, 802.1x, and WPA3 PSK/Enterprise. AirLink Connection Manager provide VPN with IKEv2, FIPS-140-2, and MOBIKE (for seamless WAN switching). Sierra provides secure syslog for SIEM integration.  AirVantage supports Two-Factor Authentication and VPN tunnels from enterprise networks.
  • Vulnerability management: The National Vulnerability Database (NVD) has more than 1,000 new entries each month.  To best manage product vulnerability, we follow industry-recognized MITRE guidelines and employ a system to monitor the NVD in real time to identify new vulnerabilities and automatically generate support tickets to investigate and remediate the issues in all affected products. 

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Sierra Wireless is now Semtech