Specialised communications networks
Other sectors Healthcare Maritime Oil and gas Power and renewables

In order to enable most of the trends that are showcased in the Technology Outlook, another boost in communication technology is needed, which might be called “specialised communication networks.”

The last thirty years have seen the radical evolution of communication networks – the World Wide Web, mobile telephony, smart phones, 3G, and more. In order to enable most of the trends that are showcased in the Technology Outlook, another boost in communication technology is needed, which might be called “specialised communication networks.” Four kinds of networks are especially important.

  • Networks providing high reliability and well-defined, timely reception of messages (e.g. FlexRay)
  • Networks providing cheap transfer, long-range, and low-energy transmission of short messages (e.g. Long-Range Wide Area Network, LoRaWAN)
  • Very high-speed networks for huge amounts of information (e.g. fibre, 5G)
  • Satellite-based networks to serve remote locations and vessels at sea

The technologies that constitute 5G are basically available today, and the primary question is how quickly 5G will be rolled out. Whether 5G will become the all-dominating technology remains to be seen, as different networks may be better-suited to different, specialized purposes. Speed is not the only requirement of a communications network; extremely high reliability and “real-time” communication are other demands. Thus other specialized networks will, at the least, co-exist with 5G. Satellite-based communications, for example, will get cheaper as increasingly miniaturized satellites are put into orbit.

What lies ahead?

2020-2030 will see a revolution in terms of the specialized communication networks listed above. Some of these technologies are there already, but there are hurdles yet to be cleared. For example, 5G is not yet fully standardized; the international standard is expected to be completed in 2020. Wide coverage of 5G should not be expected before 2025, and the applications that demand 5G will thus appear from 2025 onward. With the exception of satellite-based communication, the other technologies listed above are partly available, and we expect them to be well rolled-out by 2025.

Contributors

Main author: Siegfried Eisinger

Editor: Thomas Fries

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