“Statistics show that due to the cost of upgrading and replacing equipment and people’s notion that “equipment is not broken and old, no need to update” and other reasons, many ordinary factories still use traditional old equipment and technological processes in the workshop, which makes the factory in modern production. China faces many challenges.
Statistics show that due to the cost of upgrading and replacing equipment and people’s notion that “equipment is not broken and old, no need to update” and other reasons, many ordinary factories still use traditional old equipment and technological processes in the workshop, which makes the factory in modern production. China faces many challenges.
Because the reliability of the network connection needs to be ensured when data is transmitted across factories, and there is no interference when the device communicates with the centralized storage data or processing platform, the existing devices widely use wired connections, and they do not have wireless Connection function.
Industrial automation needs to ensure the reliability of network connections, but existing wireless networks such as 3G and 4G are mainly designed for mobile and computing communications, so they cannot provide the reliable low latency required for automation and interoperability And high-bandwidth data transmission. This limitation means that before the arrival of 5G networks, people still have to rely on wired connections to achieve Industry 4.0.
Wireless network and the future of Industry 4.0
The introduction of 5G is expected to solve many challenges encountered when relying on wireless networks to run industrial processes or operations. It should be noted that, unlike other wireless iterations before 5G, the 5G wireless network framework is specifically designed for industrial applications, which means that 5G wireless networks will provide low latency, high bandwidth and best reliability.
The advanced reliability of 5G means that wireless networks can eventually replace wired networks in industrial environments and promote the future of Industry 4.0. In order to let everyone better understand this point of view, let’s talk about some of the differences between 5G networks, 4G networks and wired networks.
5G networks are smarter, faster, more efficient or more reliable than 4G networks. The expected transmission speed of 5G is about 10 gigabits per second, while the current transmission speed of 4G is 1.45 gigabits per second. (However, there is still a gap between the performance achieved by 5G and the theoretical advantages that users will enjoy in the near future) In terms of latency, 4G actually provides a low latency of 40 to 50 milliseconds for data transmission, while 5G The delay measurement is almost zero.
When comparing 5G and 4G, the ability of wireless networks to support device interconnection also needs to be considered. A 4G network supports approximately 100,000 devices within a square mile, while a 5G network can support more than 1 million devices. Insufficient network capacity will affect the network connection of the device, just like in a crowded place you will find that your mobile device cannot connect to the network. With the development of 5G technology, its connectivity has been enhanced, and it is expected to support billions of IoT networks that will be deployed across industries in the future.
The infrastructure supporting 4G and 5G networks has a significant impact on the connection throughput provided by these two wireless networks. The 4G network relies on base stations that support network communication. The farther the device is from the base station, the more difficult it is to access the 4G network. The 5G network relies on cellular sites to expand its coverage. These cellular units are small boxes that are easy to install on high walls, light poles and towers. Therefore, with the increase in the installation of 5G units, more and more devices can be connected to the 5G network, and the network capacity is also increasing. 5G networks will be able to operate in the most remote areas because the infrastructure of 5G networks is simple and inexpensive compared to the cost of building 4G towers in remote areas.
Wired networks such as modern Ethernet have low latency (approximately 10 milliseconds), which makes them the first choice for industrial facilities. Although this delay is lower than that provided by 4G, it still pales in comparison to 5G wireless networks. There are also many factors that affect the deployment of wired networks, such as deployment distance, range limitations, and wiring costs for large-scale factories.
Unlike wired networks, wireless networks are not limited by range or the size of industrial facilities. As long as the device has wireless connectivity, accessing the wireless network is as simple as connecting a smartphone to the Internet. For old equipment, the factory site integrates edge devices such as IoT hardware and human machine interface (HMI) to achieve connectivity. These edge devices can capture data from old devices while connecting them to a centralized network.
The low latency, high bandwidth, versatility and affordability provided by wireless networks mean that wireless networks will soon replace the use of wired networks in industrial facilities. With the large-scale promotion of 5G networks, traditional challenges such as reliability faced by previous wireless iterations will no longer trouble factories, and automated factories will also benefit from it.
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