Fri Jan 20 2023
How Can 5G Change Enterprises?
Nowadays, most manufacturers are familiar with such terms like "smart factory" or "digital factory". They mean a production environment where digital technologies help improve productivity, efficiency, safety, and regulatory compliance.
But many enterprises are far from such an environment and just taking their first steps to digital transformation. The reason is that the production IT projects have been extended, expensive, and often risky, especially if they require production applications hosted remotely.
However, digitalization has accelerated in the past few years, mainly due to three factors:
- Today, high-speed and high-availability network services are affordable in many regions.
- Сloud technologies offer solutions that significantly reduce the time-to-value for manufacturers.
- Recent disruptions caused by the pandemic have forced manufacturers to rethink their traditional approaches.
And as network and cloud services develop, manufacturers gain access to an innovative set of infrastructure options to improve shop floor operations' support. Industrial 5G technology will play a decisive role in this process.
What Is Enterprise 5G?
5G is a mobile communications standard that offers enormous gigabit bandwidth, real-time support, and a large number of connected devices in a highly reliable and secure environment.
Enterprise 5G is a dedicated wireless LAN solution to meet an organization's specific needs. This allows businesses to take advantage of 5G benefits, including the following:
- Increase transmission speed (up to 10 times 4G)
- Increase network capacity (Up to 10 times more capacity than 4G)
- Ultra-low latency (less than 20ms round trip)
- Improved support for low-power devices and sensors
Unlike 3G and 4G, 5G considers industrial requirements, enabling smart wireless communication between machines and applications. Enterprise 5G can also help implement private networks, as it can meet mobile and highly flexible application needs for connectivity flexibility and resilience.
That's why Enterprise 5G might become a solid foundation for implementing the Industry 4.0 strategy.
5G Features and Capabilities
Compared to 3G and 4G, Enterprise 5G ensures substantial productivity gains. In addition to low latency, high connection density, and bandwidth, this technology also offers IIoT connectivity and greater flexibility.
However, Enterprise 5G does not offer these capabilities in a single package. It allows these features to be used in relevant applications and to allocate resources in a 5G private network. Thus, a kind of function triangle arises, which includes the following:
- Enhanced mobile broadband
- Massive machine-type communication
- Ultra-reliable and low-latency communications
This means that wireless technologies (WLAN, WirelessHART, GSM, LTE, etc.) or cable systems used today can be replaced by a universal 5G private network, which will adapt to the specific application.
Private Networks Are a new Opportunity for Enterprises
5G's capability to create private networks allows enterprises to control the entire network's performance and reliability. In this case, the private network must be considered separately from the public network.
For example, multiple antennas are connected to a 5G base station in a 5G private network to illuminate a factory floor or private area. Thus, it is an entirely autonomous communication infrastructure. Necessary wireless devices connect to an automatically created wireless network, not a public mobile network.
Due to the private network benefits, companies can track, store, analyze, manage, and freely configure traffic. For comparison: previous wireless solutions use mostly license-free radio bands on a best-effort basis. It results in power losses when the RF spectrum is busy.
Enterprise 5G Applications
Due to the high scalability and the system's ability to adapt, Enterprise 5G has an almost limitless number of possible applications.
- Remote maintenance
- Autonomous system control and monitoring
- Connection of mobile devices
- Standardized connection of sensors
- Integration of machines and plants into higher-level networks
- Power grid control
- Switching in distributed power grids
- Monitoring of water and sewerage networks
- Control and management of distributed transport networks
- Transport alarm systems
- Video surveillance systems (public safety)
- Preventive maintenance
- Object tracking
- Asset condition monitoring
- Production control
- Augmented reality
- Asset and property management
- Carbon-monoxide alarms
Compared to 3G and 4G, 5G has been primarily developed for enterprises. Due to this, 5G expansion will allow businesses to benefit from enhanced mobility, flexibility, reliability, and security - taking IoT and industrial applications to never-before-seen levels.