5G for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Capabilities, Features, and Potential

It’s important to understand how well a wireless communications system such as 5G can be expected to perform its intended use. The technical methods and criteria applied to assess this are native to the wireless industry and may strike those who approach 5G from the end user perspective as foreign or opaque. To help the entire industrial IoT community understand this technology better, speak a common language, and assess whether 5G is the best choice for meeting a particular requirement, this whitepaper describes its capabilities and performance for a defined set of technical criteria.

Intro

Executive Summary

The impact that 5G is having on Industrial IoT (IIoT) is a hotly discussed topic. Wireless communication is essential for the Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 because it enables seamless, pervasive, and scalable connectivity among machines, people, and sensors as well as with mobile entities such as mobile robots, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), drones, and humans. It also delivers benefits by removing cables from stationary, rotating, and other objects with limited mobility.

One major contribution of 5G is extremely reliable communication, paving the way for wireless isochronous real-time motion control, sensor systems for monitoring critical processes, and AR/VR applications. And all of these are served by a single wireless communication system. This isn’t the only feature that makes 5G suitable for IIoT applications, however. Thanks to use cases published by 5G-ACIA, 5G technology has significantly evolved over the course of successive releases to provide ever-broader support for applications of these kinds. Besides radio capabilities, this white paper describes 5G capabilities that are relevant to IIoT applications, including support for Ethernet integration, time-sensitive networking (TSN), and security in nonpublic networks. It also talks about ways in which verticals can access 5G technology to drive the evolution of IIoT in terms of deployment and spectrum access. 

The ultimate aim of this white paper is to facilitate a deeper understanding of capabilities and features of 5G that are important for industrial automation. Because 5G devices can be built with varying capabilities, it discusses which are needed for different functionalities. The same statement applies to features that are essential for integrating infrastructure.

Using 5G for connected industries is new territory for both information and communications technology (ICT) and operational technology (OT) players. Although 5G has been deployed in many countries since 2019 for enhanced mobile broadband services, its use in commercial and industrial scenarios in nonpublic networks is only just starting to get off the ground. 5G has already matured enough to support industrial IoT (IIoT) use cases, but on the business level a number of basic issues still need to be clarified. They include, for instance, how to specify and negotiate contractual service requirements and how to make sure that these requirements are met during a 5G system’s operational phase. A number of basic business-related questions are still open. All of these things require further study in order to present them more clearly and pave the way for practical implementation in industry.

This white paper aims to establish a common basis to facilitate communication on SLS among ICT and OT partners, especially in connection with industrial uses for 5G systems. Therefore, this white paper addresses both ICT and OT stakeholders.

Key messages

Insight and Vision

Technical criteria that are important for evaluating wireless systems for Industrial IoT (IIoT) use cases are: scalable deployment options, ability to utilize different spectrum licensing models, support for strict IIoT performance requirements with mobility and manageable coverage area, ability to expose capabilities to applications using them, support for QoS and Ethernet technologies in general and TSN in particular, positioning, security, and conformance specification and testing. The whitepaper provides 5G benchmark for each of them.

5G network deployment can be scaled based on needed services, number of users and area to be covered, and both licensed and unlicensed spectrum operation modes are available. Edge computing is available to optimize network and resource usage in each scenario, and network operation can be highly automated.

illustration of standalone NPN

illustration of PNI-NPN: User data kept on premises

illustration of PNI-NPN: NPN as a Service

5G can support stringent latency needs of IIoT services. Radio latency less than 1 ms with a packet reliability greater than 99.9999% (down to 0.5 ms at 99.999% with optimizations) is supported with E2E latency of 1-2 ms and reliability of 99.999% (depending on core implementation). Time synchronization (e.g. to UTC) over the radio interface is supported to sub-ms accuracy. All this is possible in multiservice 5G network that can be optimized for needed type of service and capacity.

5G supports transport of standard IEEE 802.3 Ethernet traffic, and presents itself as a virtual bridge ready to integrate with existing network management systems. This provides basic capability for using 5G with Ethernet based systems. 5G QoS framework enables setting up QoS flows that are logically separate, and added with 5G’s URLLC capabilities it can support Time-critical traffic such as TSN, where 5G system is modeled as a TSN-capable Ethernet bridge.

conclusion

Retrospect and Outlook

5G delivers a number of capabilities that enable advanced industrial use cases (including isochronous real-time motion control, sensor systems for monitoring critical processes, and AR/VR applications) for deployment over a single wireless communication system. They include both stringent communications requirements and integration capabilities to enable 5G to seamlessly blend in or coexist with preexisting and evolving Ethernet technologies. 5G-ACIA has a strong history of adapting 5G specifications to meet demanding use cases in the IIoT sector. In addition to presenting the IIoT capabilities of 5G based on extensive analyses carried out by 5G-ACIA, this white paper discusses various ways to add 5G communications to IIoT scenarios, including options for accessing and using frequency spectrum.

We have awoken your interest?

Do you want to learn more about this future-oriented topic? Please download or share the 5G-ACIA white paper as a PDF file.

Relevant white papers

abstracted constructor with tablet in his hand
5G QoS for Industrial Automation
Distributed industrial applications rely on the quality of service (QoS) of the underlying communications system, which has to meet the application requirements in each case. Some industrial use cases pose highly demanding communication requirements and are therefore quite sensitive to any changes in the QoS. 5G supports comprehensive mechanisms for defining, implementing, controlling, policing, and monitoring QoS. These mechanisms cover both dynamic QoS management for packet-level traffic differentiation within a single-device connection and management of the overall performance of 5G networks. This white paper addresses industrial automation professionals wishing to leverage 5G QoS features in their applications....
abstracted roboter arm touches computer screen which shows some drones
5G for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Capabilities, Features, and Potential
It’s important to understand how well a wireless communications system such as 5G can be expected to perform its intended use. The technical methods and criteria applied to assess this are native to the wireless industry and may strike those who approach 5G from the end user perspective as foreign or opaque. To help the entire industrial IoT community understand this technology better, speak a common language, and assess whether 5G is the best choice for meeting a particular requirement, this whitepaper describes its capabilities and performance for a defined set of technical criteria....
6G_PositionPaper
Position Paper – Our view on the Evolution of 5G towards 6G
5G-ACIA will continue to focus on enabling the full potential of 5G in connected industries and automation, in particular in the manufacturing and process industries. ...

Designing 5G for Industrial Use

Key 5G capabilities pave the way for perfecting Industry 4.0 communication and IIoT connectivity

Key Enabler for Industrial 5G

High-performance features of 5G enhance its potential for a wide variety of industrial communication channels and applications

Making Industrial 5G happen

For core use cases, industrial 5G will evolve into a key wireless communication technology and standard

Usage of industrial 5G

A wide variety of white papers explain in detail how industrial 5G will migrate to and be integrated in connected industries and automation

Endorsed testbeds

The capabilities and performance of 5G in actual industrial applications are evaluated and validated with endorsed testbeds

Showcases

Industrial 5G demos for various industry scenarios and resolutions are presented, showing how they maximize performance and reliability 

About us

5G-ACIA unites key stakeholders for advancing the standardization and regulation of 5G in the industrial domain

Mission

5G-ACIA ensures that the special interests and needs of the industrial domain are adequately considered in connection with 5G standardization and regulation

Structure

5G-ACIA is run and operated by a board, working groups, and an office

Working groups

A plenum makes plans and decisions on how to handle different work items and essential topics

Legal entity of 5G-ACIA

5G-ACIA is a working group of ZVEI

Global partners

5G-ACIA is a global association and central forum with associated partners worldwide

Benefit

Joining 5G-ACIA makes you an Industrial 5G initiator with access to valuable insights and knowledge

Members

Global member organizations from diverse domains are the key to the success of 5G-ACIA and Industrial 5G

How to become a member

5G-ACIA is happy to receive and answer your queries

News

All of the latest announcements, reports, and information are available here

Press releases

All recent press releases are available here

Events

Join upcoming events and review past ones

Blog

Read the latest blog posts here

Publications

Key 5G-ACIA messages and publications for SDOs and observers worldwide

Webinars

Join 5G-ACIA and learn about its work designing the framework for industrial 5G

Media

Media and materials to inspire you and promote Industrial 5G

Showcases

Industrial 5G Demos and resolutions are explained under different industrial scenarios by providing highest levels of performance and reliability

Share the content

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email
Print