How industrial companies can increase their efficiency with 5G networks

How industrial companies can increase their efficiency with 5G networks

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

In the age of Industry 4.0, a high-performance company network is essential in order to be able to organise production processes as efficiently as possible. 5G promises extremely high bandwidth, short response times and improved availability compared to 4G. “Manufacturing companies are generally very interested in 5G campus networks,” says Professor Bernd Kuhlenkötter from the Bochum Chair of Production Systems. “However, major technological and organizational hurdles have to be overcome when integrating the new network structure into existing production environments.” This is where the project team wants to provide support.

The IT solution developed in the project should not only help to determine the potential of a switch to a 5G campus network. It should also continuously monitor a company’s entire 5G network, for example in terms of reliability, data security, reaction speed and data rate. Often individual measurements at the beginning, when the 5G network is installed, yield the hoped-for peak performance values. In later continuous operation, however, these parameters may look different. With 5Guarantee, the 5G network will be subjected to a spatially distributed stress test. This gives a realistic picture of the performance.

The IT solution should work both for networks provided by network operators on behalf of a company and for networks that companies operate on their own responsibility. In addition, the system designed in 5Guarantee will also offer the option of mapping the future communication traffic of the production plants and thus show the operator possible bottlenecks and expansion requirements at an early stage.

The project focuses on the operational requirements of the production companies involved. This can be seen, for example, in the fact that the project partners are developing the functions for monitoring network quality not only for the standard interfaces provided by the network operators. Instead, their IT solution should also work for the adapted Industry 4.0 interfaces.

The consulting firm WIK-Consult is coordinating the project, which involves the Technical University of Dortmund and the Ruhr University of Bochum as well as manufacturing companies Weidmüller and Miele. Associated partners are the companies Wilo, Kostal, Busch-Jaeger, Gigaset and Schmersal. Also involved in the project are the IT security start-ups Physec and Comnovo.

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is supporting “5Guarantee” with about 3 million euros.

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How to overcome high latency in the 5G era?

Scalable wireless connectivity for IoT

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