In recent years, professionals have been predicting and evaluating the profound impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on social production and people's lives. However, in order to have large-scale use of IoT technology, it still needs to overcome two major problems: carrying capacity and security issues. However, now, by introducing new technologies such as 5G and blockchain, it is possible to change the development bottleneck of the Internet of Things.
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This year, major US carriers AT&T and Verizon will launch the latest generation of cellular mobile communications 5G networks. Analysts say that the introduction of 5G will result in ultra-high data transfer rates, ultra-low latency, energy savings, cost reduction, higher system capacity, and large-scale connectivity of devices.
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The organic combination of Internet of Things, 5G and blockchain technology is likely to release huge economic value. In order to understand the complementary relationship between the Internet of Things, 5G and blockchain, we need to look at it from multiple angles. 5G can make IoT devices widely available through its low latency, high speed and high capacity coverage capabilities. At the same time, IoT devices can also use the security, decentralization, non-changeability and consensus mechanisms of the blockchain as the base layer to further improve their performance.
Through the above analysis, we can realize that with the help of 5G technology and blockchain technology, smart cities, driverless cars, smart homes and other sensor-driven enhancement technologies will eventually meet people's work and life. demand.
Internet of Things application
Blockchain as a foundation layer for IoT applications can provide consensus and security, and most IoT transactions and contracts will occur on the second layer of the blockchain, which has the opportunity to resolve payment channels and chain transaction disputes. And other issues. At the same time, the network capacity of the Internet of Things will be realized by the high coverage capability of 5G. 5G will further increase the decentralization of the blockchain by increasing the number of participation of blockchain nodes, and it will also help to reduce the blockchain. The block time, which directly contributes to the blockchain, promotes the scalability of the chain, all of which in turn further supports the Internet of Things economy.
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Next, we will use 5G technology as a foothold to understand why the emergence of 5G technology will bring great changes to the blockchain and the Internet of Things economy.
So far, some large network providers in the United States have begun to launch and cover 5G networks in some cities in the United States, and other countries around the world will achieve large-scale 5G network coverage by 2020.
Among them, network provider Verizon will provide coverage of 5G networks in Chicago and Minneapolis from April 11 this year, and cover 5 cities in 30 cities in 2019.
In addition, Samsung is expected to release the new 5G-compatible mobile phone Galaxy S10 next month. Other companies such as Huawei and LG have also released the latest 5G mobile phones, and will soon be put on the market. From the modem field, there is currently no modem that supports both 5G and LTE. However, Qualcomm has indicated that it will launch this type of product X55 in the third or fourth quarter of this year. Apple's response in this regard is slightly sluggish, the company is still evaluating the 5G market, and it is expected that the fruit powder will not see the 5G compatible iPhone until 2020.
5G technology will wake up the development of the Internet of Things
The great advantage of 5G is its high speed, high capacity, low latency and the ability to connect a large number of devices.
Latency refers to the time between the transmission of a signal and reception; in the terminology of a blockchain, delay refers to the time taken by a blockchain node between a broadcast transaction and a reception transaction.
For the Internet of Things, whether it is applied to smart homes or self-driving cars, achieving low latency is critical for communication between devices. Because low latency gives us the opportunity to implement a very important concept: Internet of Skills (IoS). This is the process by which experts work remotely through virtual reality devices. For example, dentists can perform remote surgery through a network of technicians. If a long communication delay occurs during the remote surgery, the doctor's instructions will be transmitted to the robot with errors that may endanger the patient's life.
Through the above examples, we can understand the huge market prospects brought by 5G technology. A Qualcomm study also shows that by 2035, 5G technology may bring an additional $12.3 trillion in global GDP growth.
The 5G network also has a very powerful feature that transmits up to 10GB of data per second, which is a significant improvement over current home broadband services and cellular networks (the global non-mobile Internet average speed is only 7.2MB per second). Therefore, 5G is likely to have the opportunity to become a global Internet network.
The impact of 5G networks on the Internet of Things and related concepts will be further enhanced by MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing). This is a form of network that allows a service to propagate from a central node to a peripheral node, thereby increasing latency while reducing latency. At the same time, the Internet of Things will rely on the capacity and speed of 5G to complete the interconnection of large-scale devices. According to Huawei's research, by 2025, the number of Internet of Things connections will reach 100 billion, and after that, it will show exponential growth.
The automation that everyone understands may be that robots replace paid work done by humans. However, in real-world production, the definition of automation goes far beyond the scope described above, and it will also include replacement chores and unpaid daily tasks.
Taking smart home as an example, household appliances can communicate with each other, which makes it easy for residents to understand the actual situation at home. In addition, autonomous vehicles and trucks have passed similar tests. It is believed that in the next 10 years, traditional industries such as agriculture, mining and drilling will be automated through high-speed Internet of Things.
The implementation of these applications relies on extensive coverage of 5G networks to provide these systems with the capacity and speed required to perform tasks on a global scale.
However, there are still two strong bottlenecks in 5G: First, because the devices in the 5G network are interconnected, some malicious devices may cause confusion in the network. Second, the launch of 5G will drive the explosive growth of connected device transactions. The current centralized and decentralized financial infrastructure may not be able to carry this level of growth.
The important role of blockchain
Blockchain innovation is likely to solve the first problem of 5G. Decentralized public chains have the advantage of being immutable, resistant to tampering, and building consensus among untrusted entities. Therefore, blockchains can serve as a fundamental layer for resolving disputes between IoT devices. Since these interconnected devices will handle large amounts of capital or operate the vehicle, it is critical to build a layer of underlying protocol with strong security, and the blockchain can help IoT devices do better in this regard.
Decentralized blockchains offer other advantages over the client-server model currently used by the Internet of Things. For example, the decentralized architecture of the blockchain allows identity to be protected and guaranteed. Currently, IoT devices are typically identified by a cloud server, and their identity data is also stored in these databases. As a result, these identity data can be compromised, stolen, or imitated, posing a significant security threat to any application running on such a network. By using a decentralized blockchain, we can protect the security of these identity information through asymmetric encryption and hashing algorithms. In order to ensure the security of identity information, IoT devices will be registered according to the corresponding blockchain address, and the blockchain layer can provide a security level and frictionless authentication process that is unmatched by the existing centralized infrastructure.
Unfortunately, blockchain technology may not directly address the second development bottleneck of 5G. The breadth of the Internet of Things means that the decentralized blockchain architecture cannot handle huge throughput. Of course, by using a payment channel or a side chain like a lightning network, the above problems can be effectively solved by the vast majority of parties to the second and second layers of the blockchain. However, considering that each device in the IoT needs to have its own address and chain transactions, the blockchain needs to have on-line processing power to process tens of thousands of transactions per second. In short, the scalability of the two layers of the blockchain must be significantly improved.
Bitcoin Cash is trying to increase its scalability by increasing the block capacity. Ethereum is also building larger chain capacity through fragmentation technology. In addition, we have seen the steady development of Lightning Network and Liquid, and Iteration of sidechain technology like Ethereum Plasma. We have reason to believe that the construction of the 5G technology and the second layer of the blockchain infrastructure will provide the necessary scalability and coverage for the IoT economy.
In addition to the above expansion methods, another approach by system architects is to add other system structures. Designs like directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) can be used to achieve higher throughput. However, this design is often at the expense of reducing the security and decentralization of the network.
Any IoT network based on blockchain must find the necessary foothold in the impossible triangle of scalability, security and decentralization, and any defects in these three aspects may have a catastrophic impact on users. . Until developers develop alternative designs that enable security, decentralization, and high throughput, IoT networks will have to use a more limited but more secure blockchain structure.
Prevent data tampering
5G technology can greatly enhance the data transmission capability between IoT devices. Cisco expects IoT devices to generate 847 ZB of data by 2021. Although the core of the blockchain is a distributed data storage system, it is not feasible to store large amounts of data on the chain. And if these IoT data are not stored in the blockchain, they will be more vulnerable. So how do we solve this problem?
Some experts pointed out that we can store the hash value of the data on the chain, and this hash value will point to the data storage site of the entire data set outside. In fact, this external storage can run on other decentralized protocols, such as Star File System (IPFS) or OrbitDB. Although such systems do not have the same tamper resistance as blockchains, they are more secure than centralized alternatives. The important thing is that by storing the hash value on the chain, any tampering with the data will directly change the hash value corresponding to the data, and since the hash value is time-stamped, the tampering of the data is easier. Found by us.
Empowering smart contracts
The functional and performance advantages of 5G can further promote the development of blockchain.
We can take smart contracts for example. Smart contracts on the blockchain usually depend on the oracle. These oracles can pass external data to the smart contract via the Internet. For applications such as the supply chain, 5G can enable users in remote areas to implement predictive machine functions.
With 5G, a significant increase in coverage and bandwidth, as well as edge calculation-assisted latency reduction, may increase the number of nodes in the public chain. By expanding network coverage to remote locations and providing more connectivity to non-static devices such as mobile phones and tablets, the network participation of blockchains may increase significantly, and this will further increase the blockchain. Security and decentralization.
In addition, due to the reduced network latency, developers will also have the opportunity to try to reduce the block time of the blockchain, thereby increasing the throughput on the chain. This, in turn, will provide better support for IoT devices that use blockchain for billing, consensus, and security.
Internet of Things, blockchain, and 5G complement each other
To truly appreciate the value of 5G, the Internet of Things, and the blockchain, you must look at the relationship between the three in a developmental, three-dimensional perspective. With the right architecture, and second-tier solutions, edge computing, virtual reality, augmented reality, and technology chain, these technologies will create unprecedented value while fundamentally disrupting all aspects of people's work and life.