For this very reason, the primary focus of the new 5G global mobile standard is on latency, rather than classic data transmission rates. Achieving less than one millisecond between retrieval and arrival of data is a huge leap, particularly when delay times of ten to 20 milliseconds are commonplace even in today’s best networks. But 5G technologies are broadband by design, making them ideal for transferring large amounts of data when managing industrial plants in real time, for example. 5G will be a true powerhouse, without a doubt – but its power far exceeds what is required for many IoT applications.
This is where narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) comes into play. As the ‘little brother’ of 5G, NB-IoT radio technology is designed for communications where IoT devices transfer small amounts of data over long periods of time. NB-IoT is not about real-time data transfer, but it needs to work in hard-to-reach places and offer extremely low energy consumption as it transmits tiny data packets across long distances. One of the crucial advantages of NB-IoT will be the ultra-low-power technology that keeps it up and running; such high energy efficiency will extend the life of batteries to up to ten years. Such figures are generally far beyond the reach of technologies such as GSM, 3G and LTE, as neither the networks themselves nor most devices that use them are equipped with the necessary energy-saving mechanisms.
Ultimately, NB-IoT will connect many more ‘things’ to the Internet, while 5G will keep a great deal more data in motion. This means that the technological leap towards the new mobile communications standard will once again trigger a drastic surge in the energy requirements of data centers – which is partly why experts believe that data centers will need to evolve in both procedural and operational terms. Businesses around the world agree on the former: in its traditional role, the data center has already been replaced in many cases by multi-cloud, hybrid and container-based infrastructures. According to a study by Aberdeen and A 10 Networks, 33 percent of companies worldwide have already implemented a hybrid cloud infrastructure, with a further 23 percent planning to do so within the next year. In Germany, Bitkom reports that 32 percent of enterprises with more than 20 employees already rely on multi-cloud computing, rising to 87 percent among large companies with 2,000 or more employees. So how do companies get there?