Technology giants Qualcomm Technologies and Siemens announced a new 5G milestone, this time in the field of industrial manufacturing. The duo successfully implemented the world’s first private 5G standalone network in a real industrial environment using 3.7-3.8GHz frequencies. The venue chosen for the project was the Siemens Automotive Test Center in Nuremberg, Germany.
5G: the future of industrial manufacturing
The joint proof-of-concept provides a real-world environment wherein 5G technology and its industrial applications can be tested. Siemens is providing the actual industrial test conditions, such as automated guided vehicles, while Qualcomm Technologies is supplying the 5G test network and all the relevant test equipment. In the course of the joint research effort at the Siemens Automotive Test Center, the companies will test and evaluate currently available industrial technologies such as machine-to-machine communication protocol OPC UA and industrial ethernet standard Profinet. The goal is to develop and test solutions that can be used with the upcoming Release 16 of the 5G specification.
Eckard Eberle, CEO of Process Automation at Siemens has high expectations for the experimental technology, having confidently labeled industrial 5G as the gateway to an all-encompassing, wireless network for production, maintenance, and logistics. High data rates, and most importantly, extremely low latencies, will allow for a significant increase in efficiency and flexibility in such environments, the executive explained.
The choice of Siemens and its German facilities in particular was partially prompted by the fact German private networks can utilize the 3.7-3.8GHz spectrum required by the project. The said frequencies, reserved for industrial usage, allow facilities that leverage them a high degree of independence, as they can control and manage their networks as they see fit. This, in turn, allows for high platform reliability, low latency, and the ability to autonomously reconfigure the network when necessary.
This proof-of-concept is not the first joint project between Qualcomm and Siemens
Both companies are already collaborating on the development and advancement of wireless industrial products. This particular partnership will continue to evolve, leading into the first 5G private standalone network in an industrial environment using the 3.7-3.8 GHz band.
The news about the joint research effort in the field of industrial manufacturing is the next step towards the 5G implementation in all aspects of everyday life – Internet of Things (IoT) – or as Qualcomm called it: “the biggest thing since electricity”. The connected future wherein everything from households to streetlamps talks to each other. The ultra-low latency (as low as 1 millisecond) will enable VR streaming, autonomous cars that respond to real-life conditions, and smart industrial manufacturing to our everyday life. The only thing left for us to obtain is the wireless power to get us there – something Qualcomm and Siemens wager they can help with.