Apr 1, 2019
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The recent MWC19 (Mobile World Congress 2019) in Barcelona was not just about celebrating the arrival of 5G, it also gave us a sneak peek of what is next in terms of wireless innovation and the broader expansion of 5G into new industries as outlined in this recent blog by my colleague. This week, I’m heading to Hannover Messe in Germany, where one of the key areas of 5G expansion is front and center – 5G for industrial IoT (IIoT) – with demonstrations and ecosystem collaborations.
We have been working on 5G for IIoT for some time already. At MWC18, we demonstrated an IIoT application using industrial equipment by Siemens to showcase how precise motion control can be achieved via sub-millisecond latency over 5G. At MWC19, we further demonstrated how we can reach 99.9999 percent reliability in our 5G over-the-air test network in San Diego. We also announced a research collaboration with Bosch, including a joint study of radio channel characteristics for industrial environments. These aspects serve as the basis for important features in the next 5G standard release (3GPP Rel-16), such as enhanced ultra-reliable low latency communication (eURLLC) and other optimizations of 5G dedicated for IIoT. Combined with the added support of time-sensitive networks (TSN) in 3GPP Rel-16, 5G will be able to support today’s wired industrial Ethernet and make it wireless. Wireless creates great benefits for factory automation with increased flexibility and scalability — important aspects for the “factory of the future,” also referred to as Industry 4.0.
I’m excited to see Hannover Messe bring 5G to the show this year in a big way, including a “5G Arena” in Hall 16 with multiple 5G IIoT demonstrations with the ecosystem, and a 5G conference with high-profile speakers and panelists. I’m proud that Qualcomm Technologies, together with Nokia, were selected as the technology partners by the Hannover Messe to provide the 5G over-the-air connectivity for the demonstrations in the 5G Arena. Together, we collaborated with nine industrial companies to bring multiple live 5G over-the-air demonstrations to the 5G Arena, showcasing a wide range of 5G IIoT applications. My Qualcomm Technologies colleagues and I are also looking forward to participating and contributing to a half dozen topics for the 5G Arena Forum on wireless technology, standardization, and product development.
What’s next for 5G and IIoT
At Hannover Messe, we’re also bringing a couple of demonstrations to showcase what’s next for 5G in terms of IIoT. The first demo, as mentioned above, demonstrates ultra-reliable 5G NR for IIoT. In this demo we show how we can reach 99.9999 percent reliability using a technology called coordinated multi-point (CoMP).
The second demonstration showcases how 5G NR can be deployed using shared and unlicensed spectrum (NR-U) to provide higher performance connectivity in terms of network capacity, user throughput, and reliability with coordinated multi-point (CoMP) for private 5G networks. Private 5G networks can be deployed in any spectrum type, from licensed spectrum managed by mobile operators to shared spectrum such as 3.5 GHz in the United States, dedicated spectrum such as 3.7 GHz in Germany, and now also unlicensed spectrum such as 5 GHz and 6 GHz with NR-U. This demonstration illustrates the benefits of increased system capacity and spectrum utilization via time synchronized networks in greenfield unlicensed spectrum such as 6 GHz, and the potential of new sharing paradigms such as spatial domain sharing that allows two neighboring networks in the same location to share the same spectrum, such as 3.7 GHz in Germany.
The advancement in private 5G networks, in terms of spectrum options and new radio technologies, will expand the market for wireless in IIoT. This is not only about factory automation, but also for IIoT applications in general – anywhere from container ports and power plants to warehouses and hospitals. In fact, we can start using private LTE networks today and then evolve systems with all the exciting 5G enhancements I described. The combination of the wireless evolution with 5G and the industrial evolution with Industry 4.0 creates a very exciting future that I look forward to being part of. If you’re in Hannover Messe, come visit us and our demos in Hall 16 Stand D38/7.