Methods of Applying Private 5G Networks

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Rapid and widespread digital transformation can only happen with widely accessible networks that offer low latency, significant capacity, and extremely high speed. Older technologies aren’t up to the challenge, but public 5G networks meet these requirements. Although we have generally had increasingly widespread high-speed networks, the limitations of earlier technologies have meant that many industries and individuals have been waiting for 5G for a very long time. In fact, many individuals and businesses have been completely ready to switch their Internet of Things (IoT) projects over to 5G the instant the tower infrastructure can support full network coverage…

And yet, there are delays. From infrastructure rollout to concerns about interference with aircraft, each attempt at rolling out a workable 5G public network encounters delays and roadblocks.

The worst part about this recurring delay is its damage to IoT app development services as a whole.  Businesses don’t have the luxury of waiting until cellular carriers or legacy telecommunications providers get their acts together. Accordingly, private 5G networks are taking off to allow individuals and businesses to bring their ambitious projects to life and take advantage of the rapid advances in Internet of Things development globally. We’re now in a position where three-quarters of manufacturers intend to deploy a private 5G network by 2024 to help them digitize and improve operational efficiency and wider deployment of Internet of Things solutions.

Do you share this goal? Read on to learn whether a private 5G network will support your IoT development objectives.

An Overview of Private 5G

Private 5G is a custom-deployed network that is functionally equivalent to the public or open version of the same technology. The main difference between a private 5G network and a public 5G network is the owner of the relevant 5G transmissions. You can deploy a fully private or public network, or you can also configure it for public-private or hybrid access.

There are a vast number of reasons for the sudden increase in traction for private networks.

  • Increasing availability and accessibility of the hardware
  • Many mission-critical applications require extreme bandwidth and throughput for optimal function
  • Private enterprise now has access to purchase licenses for dedicated 5G spectrum

Many industries can benefit from private 5G, and they aren’t all the usual suspects in rolling out cutting-edge Internet of Things technologies. To give you a sense of some of the sectors where private 5G can help, we’ve evaluated examples from energy, manufacturing, and automotive. However, we didn’t pick these industries because they’re the only ones that can benefit from 5G. All three industries already commonly rely on artificial intelligence (AI), sensors, and wireless devices. These are core elements of Internet of Things solutions, and they operate most effectively when they have a high-speed broadband connection to communicate.

Three Scenarios Where Private 5G Is a Must-Have

It is worth noting that we are barely scratching the surface of private 5G’s potential. The following three scenarios are examples of when it is clearly time to consider building a private 5G network.

Deploying Multiple Solutions with Variable Priority

Unlike public networks, a private 5G network lets you fine-tune the Quality of Service (QoS) or other traffic management performance rules to fit your particular application. One example is surveillance or video monitoring. With a private 5G network, you can set priority access for this application while throttling or deprioritizing less critical IoT devices and activity on the network you control.

Ensuring Improved Data Security

By their very nature, private 5G networks are isolated from public networks. This isolation reduces your exposure and limits the data leakage threat of public networks.

Managing a Remote Worksite

The beauty of a custom solution is control and adjustability. You can control all applications and systems on your network as required and adjust the location and spacing of transmitters, receivers, and relays. As a result, even in remote or underground sites, you can enjoy flawless signal coverage to support IoT development on par with what you could get in a more built-up area with a public wireless network.

Private 5G for Automotive Businesses

The default role of private 5G in the automotive industry is accelerating partly because of the ongoing advancements in autonomous vehicles. The efficiency and functionality of an autonomous car substantially come down to data and connectivity, which means that a strong and fast network is vital. Since each data transfer could be life-or-death, there is no margin for error in collection or transfer.

Better connectivity means improved safety where autonomous vehicles are concerned. However, public 5G networks aren’t up to the massive data transfer requirements of autonomous vehicles, so private 5G has to step up to fill the gaps. These networks can support the local operation of self-driving vehicles in the same way they support data transfer in remote factories and ports. Because of these solutions’ robustness, reliability, and speed, they can optimally support business processes.

Cisco, the computer networking brand, has already started launching private 5G. One of these includes car-to-trackside wireless in self-driving car races. Cisco initially deployed this solution at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s first official race featuring autonomous cars, where participants included major American universities and researchers. This event allowed Cisco to test and demonstrate that autonomous vehicle solutions can work flawlessly when you provide them with a flawless communications network.

In the Indianapolis Motor Speedway autonomous car race, Cisco provided connectivity with a proprietary 5G-class mesh wireless transmission system for data transfer to and from self-driving vehicles. This high-speed, high-throughput network allowed self-driving software and associated systems to receive data from cameras, LIDAR arrays, and various other sensors on the vehicles. The private 5G system allowed for GPS timing alignment, telemetry data offloading, and autonomous control of race commands for the vehicles.

Private 5G for Energy Businesses

If you look at a typical wind farm, you can expect approximately 100 wind turbines with thousands of sensors installed on each. Wind farm operators can only ensure efficiency through instant and continuous access to the data these thousands of sensors collect so that the turbines can convert more wind energy to electricity.

Providing instant access to data streams from thousands of sensors demands exceptional connectivity, and this is where 5G shines. Unlike fiber optic networks or even the earlier 4G wireless, 5G can simultaneously host real-time data in quantity and from a virtually unlimited number of sensors. This makes 5G the only game in town for better efficiency and a higher electrical harvest in any such distributed Internet of Things application.

However, the energy applications don’t stop at wind turbine sensor data. With a 5G network, smart grids can be more efficient and reliable. In addition, if the network is private, you can deploy as easily in remote or inaccessible areas as in densely populated areas. You can also customize a private network to the specific requirements of your application, whether a wind farm, switching station, or other heavy energy infrastructure.

For one example, we can look at UK Power Networks (UKPN). UKPN owns and maintains cables and other electrical infrastructure throughout the United Kingdom. UKPN decided to deploy a private 5G network to streamline its smart grids. UKPN’s intelligent grid devices were already distributed, but now they are more interconnected, interoperable, and reliable than ever. While prior networking technology helped, private 5G fully addresses the system’s needs.

Private 5G for Manufacturing Businesses

In the new paradigm of Industry 4.0, there is an ever-increasing quantity of robots, smart devices, and connected equipment. Within this space, manufacturers are already suffering accidents and errors because of using public networks on factory floors and production environments. We already know that these situations can only worsen when we have a predicted 4.7 billion devices connecting to public networks by 2030.

Private 5G promises significant positive change for enterprise:

  • Ability to deploy and maintain a self-managed network
  • Improved data exchange reliability with the IoT devices on your network
  • Lower latency and faster response times within your work processes
  • Improved security due to local storage and isolation from public networks

John Deere is a globally recognized American manufacturer of agricultural machinery and heavy equipment. Its facilities include thousands of applications, automated guided vehicles, and connected robots, making it a shining example of an Industry 4.0 company. The diversity of connected devices used multiple communications technologies, including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Zigbee. However, this is one scenario where diversity is unlikely to bring strength. Instead, such a proliferation of standards and communication methods is insecure, inconsistent, and inefficient.

This recognition caused John Deere to deploy private networks in roughly 20 facilities. To facilitate this, the company acquired spectrum licenses to gain permission to deploy these networks directly and without needing to work with a legacy telecommunications provider. The end result of these decisions is that each of these private 5G networks has an onsite core with no public network connection. These characteristics make John Deere’s private 5G networks mobile, reliable, and independent.

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