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What is 5G and why should manufacturers care?

Written by Denise Rice. Denise is the CEO of Peak Performance and the Manufacturing Consultant to the Tennessee Manufacturers Association.She is a former plant manager with nearly 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry.

5G. It’s all over the news right now. Most of the headlines deal with how the technology will impact your private life – your home internet and mobile phone coverage. That’s important of course, for everything from scrolling through the internet and connecting with your friends and family to streaming videos or gaming. But if you are a manufacturer and haven’t thought about how 5G could impact not only your productivity but also your bottom line, it’s time to get started.

The Industry 4.0 revolution is already starting to transition the way companies manufacture, improve, and distribute their products, moving away from human-directed, computerized assembly lines to largely automated smart factories that work more efficiently using real-time data. To succeed, you need a reliable, versatile, and dedicated network capable of working at ultra-high speeds while still maintaining safety and security.

While there are other options available, private 5G networks enable manufacturers to take advantage of technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality for troubleshooting, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Here are three reasons why you should consider 5G:

1. Reliability & Low Latency

A dedicated 5G network will ensure reliability. In more remote areas, public networks may not exist or be limited. Even in areas with good public coverage, access can sometimes be limited indoors. You may also have to share capacity on a public network with others. With a private 5G network, all of the bandwidth is reserved for your use and is capable of processing a high volume of data with minimal delay – a critical requirement for true smart factories.

2. Security

There are security risks with any network, but private 5G networks have been designed and implemented with security as a primary consideration. With a dedicated network, you can also create your own security policies to authorize users, prioritize traffic, and, most importantly, to ensure that sensitive data does not leave the premises without authorization. Private networks can deploy tighter security measures than are possible on a public network, including features like robust encryption schemes and zero trust architecture.

3. Flexibility

With a private 5G network, a facility can synchronize and integrate tracking data into its workflow, allowing production lines to be configured in real-time. In addition, manufacturing robots that are now restricted to wired networks can be “unplugged” and moved around while still staying connected to necessary systems and data. Another plus? 5G networks are built to allow devices to remain connected when moving between cells, whereas many Wi-Fi networks require devices to reconnect after moving.

Want to learn more?

We’ve only scratched the surface of what 5G and a private network could mean for your productivity, costs, and lead times. To learn more, register to attend in-person or online the 5G Smart Manufacturing Summit on September 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET at the Smart Factory Institute in Cleveland, Tennessee. The day-long event will feature industry experts who will break down the advantages of private 5G networks and demonstrate real-world scenarios of the technology at work in production environments.

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