Benefits of 5G in industrial environments

The change brought about by the advent of 5G is something that will affect our lives on many levels. Our mobile phones are already connected and capable in ways we have never known before, revolutionising the way we consume information.

5G is still developing and will incorporate many features that will have a major impact on many sectors, including industry. 5G will lay the foundations for ‘Smart factories’, the factories of the future.

What is 5G?

5G or Fifth Generation Mobile Network is the new communication standard that enables ultra-fast connectivity with very low latency. The browsing speed is up to 100 times faster than its tech predecessor and latency is reduced to less than one millisecond. And it can do all of this without needing to rely on more devices being connected at the same time.

These features present opportunities for industries that seemed unimaginable not so long ago. The convergence of this type of technology with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will allow industrial activity to develop in a much more flexible, autonomous and efficient way.

Why is 5G going to revolutionise industrial activity?

This new generation of wireless network has a number of features far superior to 4G, which open up a world of options in terms of business organisation and production. The following are the most notable:

  • Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB): this is basically a high bandwidth that allows the number of 5G-based services to be expanded.
  • Massive Machine-Type Communication (mMTC): massive and scalable connectivity that will allow thousands of simultaneous devices to be connected. It is estimated that it will be able to support 1 million devices per 650 square metres, compared to the 2,000 supported by 4G. This is particularly interesting in terms of IoT.
  • Ultra Reliable Low-Latency Communication (URLLC): ultra-reliable low-latency communications, allowing critical activities to be implemented in real time. This feature is the most important for industrial environments.

All these features are still evolving today and will be implemented in future releases (at the time of publication of this article, we will be on release 17). When implemented, the features could enable the development of a wide range of applications, such as self-driving vehicles in transport and logistics centres, augmented reality applications for service and maintenance operations, virtual reality applications for users, etc. These types of services would be very limited if they were using the previous generation of communications infrastructure.

Benefits of 5G for industry

Here below we have highlighted the main advantages of 5G application in industrial environments.

A new level in wireless communications

5G will not only bring increased data download capacity, it will also offer a new level of mobile communication across all kinds of sensors, devices and machines. The speed of information transmission will be 20 times faster than 4G (peak speed of 20 Gbps) and latency will be virtually zero (less than 1 millisecond).

For the first time, this will allow for critical communications to take place in real time, while maintaining 99.99% reliability. Therefore, applications where high reliability and security are needed can now be implemented wirelessly via 5G, opening up numerous fields of application.

Competitive advantage for the industry

Some experts estimate that by 2025 there will be more than 70 billion devices connected to the internet, and many of these will be within the industrial sphere thanks to the development of the IIoT. This technology will enable a level of automation and connectivity within industry like never before, which will be the “Smart factory” of the future. Failure to incorporate 5G systems in your business would be like missing a train that is moving so fast that you will never be able to catch up.

Increased safety, efficiency and flexibility in production

The production plants of the future will be very different from what we know today. Where today we have production lines with large machinery that barely allow for changes and reconfigurations, the industry of the future will be far more dynamic, comprised of much more flexible and configurable mobile devices.

The ability to operate wirelessly will be one of the factors enabling this and will ensure efficient communication between operators, machines and the rest of the facility.

Increased productivity and security

5G networks can be deployed in a variety of ways and a very appealing option for companies is to set up their own local 5G network optimised for their own specific use. This allows for the creation of highly secure networks (the security will depend on the company itself, not on other operators) and it can be optimally configured according to the use required by the business.

This translates into a reduced risk for the enterprise and improved data security.

The switch to 5G is straightforward

Today, many devices are already 5G-ready. In industry, for this revolution to be possible, machinery and infrastructure will have to be adapted to support 5G. This is something that is not technically complicated, as there are companies that offer services and equipment to enable all kinds of industrial devices to use this new communication standard.

It will enable the development of Network Slicing

Network slicing will allow traditional networks to be divided into virtual networks (slices) where each one can be customised to meet specific needs. In this way, a single physical 5G network could be divided into several virtual networks for different types of services, where, for example, lower latency could be prioritised in one network, higher capacity or performance in another, and so on.

This system maximises the flexibility of the networks and the efficiency of their use and also reduces operating costs.

At Centum, we are committed to the industry of the future

5G is still under development and has not yet reached its full potential. Although the time scales are not yet fully defined, it is clear that it will be ready in the next few years. When that time comes, companies will be able to incorporate the technology, enjoy its benefits and join the Smart Factories revolution.

More speed, lower latency and greater device capacity will enable levels of automation and use of intelligent systems that will revolutionise industry.

If you would like Centum to help your organisation with the development of this technology, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Artículo propiedad de CENTUM Solutions, S.L

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