The Growing Need for Private 5G Networks in Manufacturing Plants
Traditionally, data generated from wired & Wi-Fi-based instrumentation devices installed in manufacturing plants are processed either on the local premises or in the public cloud to control the behavior of these devices. Typically, these devices require highly reliable connectivity for quick communications, a latency of less than 1ms, secure data management and data storage, proper traffic isolation between different critical applications running in the factory, and guaranteed QoS for day-to-day operations managed over the private network.
With potentially hundreds of thousands of critical sensors and control systems used in larger factory environments, 5G private network implementations are increasingly finding a way. 5G networks will be powered by massive, distributed computing, located closer to sensors and machines, and capable of applying artificial intelligence and machine/deep learning algorithms to handle huge amounts of industrial and critical data within the factory environment. A 5G factory has a private network design with its own 5G network built in, where 5G devices, RAN, and core are integrated into a complete ecosystem from end-to-end. A private 5G network does not interface with or leverage resources and functionalities from the public 5G MNO network. However, a private 5G frequency is used when a factory creates its own private 5G network, whereas an MNO’s publicly licensed frequency can be used if the MNO builds a private 5G network for a factory. MNOs’ public 5G networks can be used as backup to an existing private 5G network, enabling it to connect all the manufacturing equipment and devices installed in a factory environment to a public 5G network if the private 5G network fails for any reason.