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How will 5G Affect IoT and Industry 4.0?


Introduction

Technological advancements witnessed in the past decades have transformed operations in communication and manufacturing sectors. Manufacturing has transformed from the labor-intensive operations of the First Industrial Revolution to mechanization in Industry 2.0, and automation in Industry 3.0. Mobile communication technology has also transformed from 2G voice digitizing, 3G multimedia, to the 4G wireless broadband. Industry 3.0 is evolving into Industry 4.0, and 4G technology is being replaced by 5G to accelerate implementation Internet of Things (IoT) and address technological challenges expected in the Industry 4.0 environment.[1]

 

The basics of 5G in Comparison to 4G

The 5G system architecture is designed to address the shortcomings of the 4G network regarding the implementation of IoT and Industry 4.0. According to Cheng et al., the intention of developing the 5G technology is to extend the advantages of mobile technology beyond the level attained under 4G.[2] This monumental task requires the expansion of mobile technology in new fields of application with increased connectivity, flexibility, control, exchange of data and information, and at a lower cost.

The architecture of 5G includes inter-access mobility, which supports multiple access technologies with licensed, unlicensed, and virtualized networks, such as New Radio (NR), Low Power Wide Area (LPWA), and Wi-Fi cellular. The user-centric architecture of 5G enables flexible deployment using new core functions based on Software-Defined Networking (SDN), cloud-native, and advanced virtualization enhanced with capability for full orchestration.[3] 5G’s flexibility supports numerous innovations, such as Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MIMO), Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN), beam-forming directional antennas, and standalone networks.[4] Also, it enables the splitting of User Plane (U-Plane) and Control Plane (C-Plane) and network slicing, which offer network components on a per-customer basis. Lastly, the network guarantees end-to-end Serve Level Agreements (SLAs) for application with either low-latency or secured access or both by enabling Multi-Access Edge Computing to distribute the core function into the network.

Enhancement of Virtual and Augmented Reality under 5G Network (Source: ABI Research)

In comparison, 5G network architecture is user-centric, while 4G is application-centric. The difference in architecture has enabled improvement in several aspects, such as the increase in communication capacity, data transmission rate, and the number of large-scale connections. 5G has a lower end-to-end delay (low-latency), lower connectivity cost, and better user experience than 4G.[5]

 

Potential Applications and Impact of 5G on IoT Devices

According to Rishi and Saluja, 5G will decrease the costs of IoT devices, sensors, and electronics.[6] 5G will enable extensive implementation of Massive Internet of Things (mIoT), which serves billions of long-range, low-cost, energy-efficient machines and devices. It will enhance the connectivity of IoT devices from remote locations in addition to cloud applications in devices with infrequent, periodic communication. Also, 5G will enable maximum exploitation of capabilities of IoT devices by offering a higher connection speed of 10 Gbps at the peak, lower latency, and greater capacity that allows the connection of more high-demand devices.

Ultra-low latency connection offered by 5G will increase the widespread adoption of IoT by enabling the linking and interconnection of sensors and devices. Applications of IoT, such as smart cities, asset tracking, industrial automation, data tracking, and forecasting trends, and AVs, require ultra-low latency.[7] The functionality of these solutions will be enhanced immensely using 5G. Also, 5G will offer widespread connectivity reaching remote areas and underground tunnels, which were excluded by 4G. High connectivity in these areas will enable the expansion of IoT devices, such as sensors, to be used for data collection, asset tracking, and service delivery.

5G technology promises an improvement of user experience of IoT services such as mobile app development by incorporating seamless virtual and augment reality technology to increase the quality of IoT-enabled mobile apps. Additionally, higher download completion rates will benefit mobile-app developers. The fast speed offered by 5G will ensure more downloads are completed leading to an increase in revenue.

 

Potential Applications of 5G for Industry 4.0 Systems

According to Andrew Ross of Information Age, Industry 4.0 is all about the marriage of digital and physical technologies because it requires integrating technological innovations with the latest ICT technologies. Smart factories in Industry 4.0 will leverage technical integration offered by Cyber-Physical-Systems (CPS) in mechanized production processes and logistics and IoT in non-mechanized processes.[8] The fact that both CPS and IoT require high connectivity speed highlights that 5G is the heart of Industry 4.0.[9] 5G promises to enhance the effectiveness of Industry 4.0 system to leading to higher product quality, less machine downtime, predictive maintenance, and informed decision making.

The 5G technology will play an enabling role in integrating IoT devices with the systems of Industry 4.0. 5G will enable exploitation of technological innovations such as AI, industrial robots, autonomous operations, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and auto-guided vehicles (AGVs) and enhance productivity and innovation.[10] 5G offers an optimal telecommunications platform on which to realize IoT’s benefits in industrial operations.

 

5G is at the Heart of Industry 4.0 (Source: Information Age)

5G components that will accelerate the implementation of Industry 4.0 include Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), which provides higher bandwidth and speeds in densely populated areas and manufacturing locations, such as factories. Broadband connectivity is expected to enhance safety by offering telematics support for safety and diagnostics in factories operating in the Fourth Industrial Age.[11] Application services offered by 5G broadband connectivity will deliver augment and virtual reality in high resolution and cloud services on-demand and enable. Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (uRLLC) of 5G will enhance human-robot and machine interaction in smart, automated factories of Industry 4.0.[12] The tactile response time for the 5G network is expected to be less than 1 millisecond, which will enable real-time interaction for robotic control and autonomous driving for industrial automation.

Among the technological innovations of manufacturing for Industry 4.0 systems includes autonomous vehicles, industrial and commercial robots, 3D-printing, advanced materials, novel sensors, and so on. The high-speed connectivity offered by 5G networks will facilitate smart and manageable integration of these innovations leading to increased efficiency, productivity, and flexibility in manufacturing processes. Another vital component of Industry 4.0 is digitalization, which can be enhanced by integrating the key ingredients and facilitators of digitalization such as big data crunchers, cloud solutions, cyber-security solutions, and IoT using 5G technology. In this case, the ubiquitous communication platform offered by 5G technologies can be exploited to enable both intensive and extensive interconnection of onsite and remote workers to industrial robots, machines, and processes.[13]

 

The Progress in 5G Development and Implementation, So Far.

According to Cheng et al., 5G development begun in June 2015 with announcement by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the release of the 5G concept white paper by 5G Propulsion Group in China.[14] In late 2018, the first commercial 5G mobile networks were launched. The top countries in 5G development and implementation are China, South Korea, the US, Germany, Japan, and the UK.

Currently, China is the leader 5G implementation with the largest 5G network, which was launched by China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom on 31st October 2019.[15] China is already reaping the benefits of 5G deployed in 50 cities across China and offered at a low price of $18 per month. It is projected that 460 million Chinese mobile users will be using a 5G network by 2025, accounting for 36% of global 5G users.[16] South Korea is ranked 2nd in the deployment of 5G with SK Telecom launching 5G in April 2019, making it the first 5G mobile carrier while Korea Telecom being the first nationwide 5G network carrier. In the US, Verizon deployed a non-standards-based and standards-based 5G network in October 2018 and March 2019, respectively. AT&T first launched the standards-based 5G network in December 2018, even though 5G-enabled devices were not available to US consumers. Verizon and AT&T expect to deploy 5G in 30 cities and states across the US by the end of 2019. Immense progress has also been witnessed in the UK, Germany, Sweden, and Japan, and Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway are working jointly to deploy 5G in the Nordic region. It is projected that 5G will be available to more users and countries by 2025.[17]

 

 

 

References

Cheng, J., Chena, W., Tao, F., and Lin, C. L. “Industrial IoT in 5G environment towards smart manufacturing.” Journal of Industrial Information Integration, 2018

Cisco. “Demystifying 5G in Industrial IOT.” Cisco White Paper, 2019.

Craven, Connor. “The Top Countries with 5G Deployments and Trials.” SDX Central, 2019, www.sdxcentral.com/5g/definitions/the-top-countries-with-5g-deployments-and-trials/

Haerick, W. and Gupta, M. “5G and the Factories of the Future.” European Commission, 2015.

GSMA. “The Mobile Economy: China, 2019.” GSMA REPORT 2019. www.gsma.com/r/mobileeconomy/china/ Accessed 13th November 2019.

Newman, Peter. “IoT Report: How the Internet of Things technology growth is reaching mainstream companies and consumers” Business Insider, 28 Jan 2019. www.businessinsider.com/internet-of-things-report

Nichols, Roger. “The Impact of 5G in Advanced Manufacturing.” Manufacturing Tomorrow, 2019. www.manufacturingtomorrow.com/article/2019/07/the-impact-of-5g-in-advanced-manufacturing/13720

Rishi, R. and Saluja, R. “The Future of IoT.” FICCI IoT Summit, 2019.

Ross, Andrew. “Why 5G is the Heart of Industry 4.0.” Information Age, 2019, www.information-age.com/5g-is-the-heart-of-industry-4-0-123483152/ Accessed 13th November 2019

[1] Nichols, Roger. “The Impact of 5G in Advanced Manufacturing.” Manufacturing Tomorrow, 2019.

[2] Cheng, J., Chena, W., Tao, F., and Lin, C. L. “Industrial IoT in 5G environment towards smart manufacturing.” Journal of Industrial Information Integration, 2018

[3] Cisco. “Demystifying 5G in Industrial IOT.” Cisco White Paper, 2019.

[4] Cheng, J., Chena, W., Tao, F., and Lin, C. L. “Industrial IoT in 5G environment towards smart manufacturing.” Journal of Industrial Information Integration, 2018

[5] Nichols, Roger. “The Impact of 5G in Advanced Manufacturing.” Manufacturing Tomorrow, 2019.

[6] Rishi, R., and Saluja, R. “The Future of IoT.” FICCI IoT Summit, 2019

[7] Cheng, J., Chena, W., Tao, F., and Lin, C. L. “Industrial IoT in 5G environment towards smart manufacturing.” Journal of Industrial Information Integration, 2018.

[8] Newman, Peter. “IoT Report: How the Internet of Things technology growth is reaching mainstream companies and consumers” Business Insider, 28 Jan 2019.

[9] Ross, Andrew. “Why 5G is the Heart of Industry 4.0.” Information Age, 2019

[10] Rishi, R. and Saluja, R. “The Future of IoT.” FICCI IoT Summit, 2019

[11] Nichols, Roger. “The Impact of 5G in Advanced Manufacturing.” Manufacturing Tomorrow, 2019.

[12] Haerick, W. and Gupta, M. “5G and the Factories of the Future.” European Commission, 2015

[13] Nichols, Roger. “The Impact of 5G in Advanced Manufacturing.” Manufacturing Tomorrow, 2019.

[14] Cheng, J., Chena, W., Tao, F., and Lin, C. L. “Industrial IoT in 5G environment towards smart manufacturing.” Journal of Industrial Information Integration, 2018

[15] Craven, Connor. “The Top Countries with 5G Deployments and Trials.” SDX Central, 2019.

[16] GSMA. “The Mobile Economy: China, 2019.” GSMA REPORT. www.gsma.com/r/mobileeconomy/china/ Accessed 13th November 2019.

[17] Cheng, J., Chena, W., Tao, F., and Lin, C. L. “Industrial IoT in 5G environment towards smart manufacturing.” Journal of Industrial Information Integration, 2018

 

 


Author’s Bio:

Bryan Hellman is a writer with DO Supply, Inc. (https://www.dosupply.com/) who enjoys writing about Robotics, Automation, and future applications of AI.

 

 

 

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