Industry 4.0 results from the convergence of different technologies in the industrial world to achieve hyper automation and, therefore, a radical increase in productivity. Without a doubt, the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing will be critical pieces in this revolution. Still, the necessary gear to put them all in common will be stable and robust wireless connections. Currently, the cable does not provide the flexibility required by the future industry, and Wi-Fi has proven to have significant limitations in terms of stability in industrial environments. In this context, private 5G emerges as a new wireless connectivity standard in the industry.
For this reason, countries with a robust industrial component in their GDPs, such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France, have made profound regulatory changes that today allow companies to access frequencies to deploy 5G in their factories directly. In Germany, for example, since 2020, it has been possible to access 100 MHz of bandwidth, and hundreds of large and medium-sized companies have requested it. Among them are big manufacturers like Bosch, Volkswagen, and BMW.
Private 5G emerges as a new wireless connectivity standard in the industry
The Government of Spain has already taken its first steps by liberalising 20 MHz of bandwidth (between 2.37-2.39 GHz). Companies that wish to acquire their spectrum and have the freedom to manage their private connections using LTE or 5G. This is undoubtedly excellent news for the country.
What makes 5G the necessary gear for Industry 4.0
Mainly, 5G provides the industry with a more stable, robust, secure, and flexible wireless connection:
- 5G networks are more stable than Wi-Fi due to profound technological differences that allow a 5G network to automatically optimize the quality of service it delivers to each device. Wi-Fi will do its best to serve all devices equally. In addition, with 5G, it will only be possible to use the assigned frequency band if the devices are previously authorized and have a valid SIM card. It is like paying a toll to enter a dedicated, ultra-fast highway with only a few entries. These differences allow for fewer blind spots, lower data loss rates, and lower latency.
- 5G is more powerful and allows ultra-fast speed, up to 100 times faster than 4G. This superior data transmission capacity is key to keeping thousands of IoT elements connected simultaneously and in real-time, which will continue to be the protagonists of Industry 4.0.
- They are more secure connections. The 5G standard represents a significant improvement in cybersecurity since it is “secure-by-design.” This means it has been designed to respond to future threats in a highly digitized world with millions of interactions per second. In addition, it offers the possibility of deploying it 100% inside the factory, preventing critical data from leaving and intruders from entering.
- 5G connections are more flexible as they allow the virtual segmentation of networks or, in other words, to partition this dedicated highway into multiple special lanes. This is known as “network slicing” and prioritizes resources to guarantee service quality in those critical applications dynamically.
Factories can never afford to lose connection with an autonomous robot due to the risk it may involve people, nor can they lose a second of operational continuity due to congestion in their IoT devices. Private 5G is a solution to many of these headaches that IT teams are experiencing today. The transition to personal 5G is not easy, and our goal at Neutron is to simplify management and significantly reduce the cost of private 5G to accelerate this change.
Private 5G is, in short, a necessary step for factories to implement the Industry 4.0 paradigm in all its magnitude. Private 5G is already a reality, and industrialized countries take bold steps to ensure their industry creates a competitive advantage by leveraging 5G. We must follow this path and make it easier for more significant and medium-sized companies to make this leap. Otherwise, there is a risk of losing competitiveness that will be difficult to reverse.