5G private networks are on the rise. Revenues from private 5G networks will increase from $ 1.6 billion in 2021 to $ 65 billion in 2030¹. But the road to 5G private networks is paved with challenges that span all stages of the network lifecycle, from deployment to operations.
Enabling 5G private network use cases, especially for Industry 4.0, requires high network performance. All network components must be operating at peak performance and end-to-end network performance must be optimal. Only the tests of the RAN network during site acceptance create blind spots.
Overcoming these challenges requires a solid understanding of 5G private network use cases and their requirements. You should also be familiar with the underlying standards, deployment options, and key 5G features that enable these networks.
Multi-access edge computing (MEC), time sensitive networks (TSN) and 5G system security features are essential to enable 5G private networks for Industry 4.0 use cases. MEC provides the 5G system with real-time knowledge, TSN enables the connection of industrial devices to a mobile network and offers the possibility of controlling them, and the security functions of the 5G architecture increase the security of the private network.
Mobile Access Edge Computing (MEC)
MEC physically brings compute capacity closer to the user and helps reduce latency. MEC also helps offload the computing demands of devices that require a lot of computational resources, like augmented reality (AR) glasses and wireless robots. It can offload the IT requirements of these devices to an on-board computer using a 5G data link and make the glasses / robots lighter and more energy efficient.
Figure 1 shows an example of an AR device using a 5G private network. The AR glasses will help increase worker safety, provide remote assistance, and train workers in an increasingly complex environment, among other benefits. In this example, a camera built into an AR device takes images and sends them to a processing server. The processing server determines the camera’s current field of view and the optimal placement for previously recorded increases in the current image. It then renders the enhanced image and sends it back to the AR glasses for display. Increases in the field of view should closely follow the movements of the AR device without introducing distortions. This use case requires high computational capacity, high uplink and downlink data rates, and low latency.
Figure 1. Example of a 5G private network leveraging advanced computing for an AR use case (Source: Korea Electronics Technology Institute)
Time sensitive networks (TSN)
Another important feature for 5G private networks is TSN support. This functionality is a key element for factory automation. The low latency features built into 5G can create an end-to-end time-sensitive communication channel that spans an entire infrastructure.
Many private 5G networks will be deployed in existing factories with a wired communication infrastructure being adopted from wired TSN. Translating wired TSN capabilities to 5G (and vice versa) is important to enable Industry 4.0 applications. Figure 2 shows a typical 5G architecture supporting TSN.
Figure 2. 5G network with TSN support
Security is another important aspect to consider when deploying a 5G private network. The 5G architecture (Figure 3) includes significant security improvements over previous generations of cellular technology, including more powerful and secure encryption and authentication systems.
The 5G network architecture is designed to take the necessary security measures for the various services provided by a network, whether it is a voice call, controlling a robotic function, or collecting data from it. hundreds of sensors.
Figure 3. 3GPP 5G security architecture
The rise of 5G private networks
The adoption of 5G in manufacturing is increasing. In a recent survey² of senior executives from 1,000 industry organizations, 30% said they were in the pilot stage or beyond and 40% planned to roll out 5G at scale at a single site within the next two years. years.
Additionally, many companies (64%) said they plan to adopt cutting-edge 5G-based IT services over the next three years, and more than a third of industry organizations surveyed said they prefer to deploy networks. private 5G.
However, 5G private networks present significant challenges for manufacturers and their partners. They must ensure network coverage, connectivity and stability. Achieving this goal requires a full network lifecycle strategy.
Learn more about 5G private networks by listening to Keysight experts on the All Things 5G podcast episodes “Supercharging Dedicated Private Networks” and “Time Sensitive Networking Goes Wireless”.
¹ ABI Research, “Monetize 5G Edge networks”, 3Q 2021
² Accelerating the 5G Industrial Revolution: State of 5G and edge in industrial operations report, Capgemini Research Institute, 2021