5G Communication for IIoT Era and Smart Manufacturing

By: A. Dahiya, J. Wu

An Industrial IoT framework is a complex infrastructure that involves sensors, networking, storage of big data, edge computing and advanced analytics. The ‘last hop’ for Industrial IoT is now wireless. Wireless paradigm in the telecommunications sector drives cost savings, improved reliability and greater mobility than wired connections. The key wireless technologies for IIoT are broadly classified into 4G/5G and Wi-Fi as many deployment architectures exist within these technologies. Cyber-physical systems and IIoT have gained much attention globally as together they follow many technical trends like big data analysis based smart manufacturing, cloud or edge computing based IIoT, virtual reality and augmented reality based IIoT, service/application based IIoT and smart manufacturing based on digital twin.

Figure 1: 5G based IIoT architecture [1]

In the manufacturing phase, IIoT generates vast quantities of data, which is one of the main factors in understanding cyber-physical systems. The characteristics like high transmission rate, high coverage, low latency, and high reliability are desperately required to achieve real-time transmission and processing of large data in manufacturing processes. The 5G wireless networking network, as an emerging state-of-the-art wireless transmission infrastructure, has a lot of scope to facilitate IIoT and cyber-physical manufacturing systems. Figure 1 shows the 5G based IIoT architecture.

The main problem in the implementation of industrial IoT (IIoT) throughout the development trends of cyber-physical systems/IIoT is to recognize the convergence of smart manufacturing space with the features like automation, smart interconnection, real-time monitoring, and collaborative control. In industrial settings, IIoT strives to realize ambient ubiquity networks focused on efficient sensing systems, computing networks, real-time connectivity and big data. In addition, in order to maximize production management and improve production efficiency, IIoT can achieve major manufacturing process parameters of reduced cost, more flexible and higher development that cannot be acquired in the conventional industrial production line.

Communication technology is the key concept behind IIoT. To realize the interconnection of heterogeneous production units among various communication terminals, IIoT sensed data needs to be exchanged and shared. Three major eras have been witnessed by mobile networking technologies, including 2G speech digitization, 3G multimedia and 4G cellular internet. Extensive research is still going on in 5G. The key definition of 5G is to expand the benefits of mobile technologies to new application areas, connect, monitor, exchange, find, and collaborate in the most productive way possible, and to push the spatial and temporal boundaries and build new business models. In comparison to 4G cellular networking networks, 5G has user-centric network infrastructure, cloud radio access network architecture (C-RAN), beamforming directional antennas, mixed and standalone mm-wave networks, and user plane (U-Plane) and control plane splitting (C-Plane).

In the IIoT-based manufacturing industry, certain complex manufacturing features are expected and unavoidable. It requires features like real-time status tracking of all manufacturing equipment and operations. It also needs cloud computing driven management mode, service-oriented technology and virtual/augmented reality-based design processing. One of the most critical criteria for understanding the above production features is a higher communication rate which can be efficiently addressed by 5G. Another application could be mMTC (Massive machine type communication (mMTC)). Tactile internet is also a new emerging application mode in IIoT where it is a network or network of networks that enables humans and machines to remotely connect, perceive, manipulate, and control actual or virtual objects or processes in real time. Various manufacturing data, such as equipment status, work-in-process status, worker activity statistics, shopfloor environment information, disruption information, and so on, must be sensed, resulting in a high number of sensing nodes on the production floor. Furthermore, interconnection between heterogeneous networks and heterogeneous devices is an obstacle to IIoT deployment. To fix the above problems, 5G technology requires a vast number of smaller antennas, referred to as an antenna array. In 5G, spatial division multiple access (SDMA) technology is used to boost transmitter and receiver frequency reuse. The features of mMTC’s large-scale connections hold a lot of hope for the future of IIoT. Man-machine communication is a promising application scenario in IIoT where it needs low latency and highly accurate transmission rate. In this direction, URLLC (Ultra-reliable and low latency communication) services necessitate safe data communications from one end to the other, as well as ultra-high reliability and low latency deadlines. Multi-beamforming technology is used in 5G wireless network networking technology to eliminate co-channel interference and improve connection efficiency, thus increasing transmitting reliability.

Major breakthroughs in technology like IoT, IIoT, wireless technologies, 5G, artificial intelligence, robotics, big data analytics have major influence on smart manufacturing systems. In the field of IIoT, the potential of the 5G and other promising technologies is exciting, but more tests will need to take place in the years to come before we see the full impact. Though all these technologies are in their infancy, still there is a need to explore them as dramatic and transformative benefits can be unleashed through these technologies.


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Cite this article:

A. Dahiya, J. Wu (2021), 5G Communication for IIoT Era and smart manufacturing, Insights2Techinfo, pp. 1

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