Benefits, challenges and opportunities, discussed by IDTechEx


BOSTON, September 29, 2021 / PRNewswire / – A fully digital and connected world was unimaginable to us a few years ago. However, thanks to the development of 5G, this vision is in sight. 5G is a set of optimized and updated mobile communication technologies and new features resulting from the frequency change: 4G (24 GHz). With new technological advancements such as network slicing and edge computing, 5G offers much higher bandwidth, lower latency, higher reliability and more connections compared to previous cellular generations.

In the first phase of 5G development, the focus is still on the business-to-consumer (B2C) market. We have seen telecom operators around the world actively install 5G macro base stations to provide high capacity networks to consumers using mobile devices over the past two years. This trend will continue but will not stop there. The blue ocean of the 5G market is located in the business-to-business (B2B) segment. With high data throughput and ultra-low latency, 5G can tap into many high-value areas, including 3D robotic control and virtual reality monitoring, areas that previous technologies were unable to address. to treat. Going forward, IDTechEx expects many industries such as manufacturing and logistics to be redefined and reshaped by 5G.

Small 5G cells will play a critical role in 5G networks for connected industries. Small cells, with the characteristics of easier deployment and lower costs compared to macro base stations, have been used for business purposes in the 3G age. Since 2016, more than one million small cells have been shipped for business purposes each year. However, compared to the number of connections made via wired connections, cellular wireless networks still have a huge margin for improvement. Take the example of Industry 4.0, most connections are made via Ethernet (46%), wireless networks in Industry 4.0. The Internet of Things (IoT) now occupies only 6%. One of the bottlenecks is that flexible manufacturing systems are still not prevalent. Other challenges include the lack of feature support in device components and performance validation. Either way, the development of 5G is pushing demand towards wireless networks. IDTechEx predicts that there will be approximately 45 million small 5G cells deployed by the end of 2031, for more information see the latest post from IDTechEx, “5G Small Cells 2021-2031: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts“.

IDTechEx concludes three main reasons why 5G networks enable connected industries and automation:

  1. Efficient and flexible working environment: 5G connectivity can replace traditional wired connectivity – it will improve communication between machines but also between humans and machines. For example, with 5G, workers no longer have fixed terminals and can communicate with machines using virtual reality (VR) / augmented reality (AR) on tablets at any location covered by 5G. In addition, wireless connectivity also brings greater flexibility to production lines.
  2. Improve Product Efficiency: With 5G, the massive amount of data generated by different types of sensors can be collected and analyzed on site instantly. This in turn allows machines to optimize themselves based on the feedback data they receive. Additionally, the analyzed data can also be used to predict the need for future maintenance or any potential issues that may arise.
  3. Industrial grade performance: 5G has extremely low latency, high bandwidth, fast data speeds, and high reliability that is almost as reliable as wired connectivity. New technologies brought by 5G, such as network slicing, AI, real-time machine learning and advanced computing, are enabling the transformation of the manufacturing industry.

There are three types of networks to choose from to establish networks on company premises; Public, private and hybrid. Public networks involve the use of networks provided by commercial base stations, while private networks provide dedicated spectrum, can be tailored to different applications and secure data on site. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, using public networks directly may be the cheapest option, however data security, as well as maintenance liability issues, can be of concern. Deploying private networks will be the most expensive option, but it allows a business to have full control of its network. For most of the companies involved in manufacturing, especially multinational companies such as Bosch and Siemens, the private network is the most attractive option given the data security concerns. We also found that telecommunications regulators in many countries such as the United States, Germany, China, and Japan freed up spectrum dedicated to the development of private networks. It should be noted that private networks are not unique to 5G. There are already private networks based on 4G. Nonetheless, the characteristics of 5G such as high data throughput and low latency along with key technologies such as advanced computing are the main reasons why 5G private networks are so attractive to the industry.

Over the past two years, there has been an increasing number of 5G private network deployments around the world. Bosch has announced the deployment of 5G private networks in all of its manufacturing plants. Automakers such as Ford and Toyota both rolled out private 5G networks at some of their factories in 2020. China actively deploys 5G private networks for mining sites. It is guaranteed that more and more companies will adopt 5G networks.

The growth of 5G small cells will go hand in hand with 5G private networks for industries. As mentioned earlier, 5G small cells are essential for the deployment of a 5G private network. IDTechEx expects the number of small cell shipments to be significantly higher than it is currently by the end of 2031. To learn more about 5G small cells, please see the latest IDTechEx report: “5G Small Cells 2021-2031: Technologies, Markets, ForecastsThis report contains a comprehensive analysis of the supply chain across 5G Small Cells, which includes a detailed assessment of technological innovations and market dynamics. This report also provides comprehensive and detailed case studies on the major Vertical Applications Made Possible by 5G Small Cells Importantly, the report presents unbiased analysis of primary data collected through interviews with key players and draws on IDTechEx expertise in 5G industry.

About IDTechEx

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Nathalie Moreton
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