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Pioneering progress: Lessons learned from private network early adopters in manufacturing

Traditional wired and wireless solutions have proven extremely useful for manufacturers for many years. However, in the face of escalating technological complexity and the proliferation of data, manufacturers can no longer rely solely on these solutions to run operations. A fresh approach to data networks is imperative, and research indicates that private 5G cellular networks are a promising solution for manufacturing early adopters.

Technical Account Manager – Advanced Industries, Transportation, Ericsson

Manufacturing Practice Leader, Ericsson North America

Manufacturing Practice Leader, Enterprise Wireless Solutions

Pioneering Progress: Lessons learned from private networks innovators

Technical Account Manager – Advanced Industries, Transportation, Ericsson

Manufacturing Practice Leader, Ericsson North America

Manufacturing Practice Leader, Enterprise Wireless Solutions

Technical Account Manager – Advanced Industries, Transportation, Ericsson

Contributor (+2)

Manufacturing Practice Leader, Ericsson North America

Manufacturing Practice Leader, Enterprise Wireless Solutions

Traditional wired and wireless solutions have proven extremely useful for manufacturers for many years. However, in the face of escalating technological complexity and the proliferation of data, manufacturers can no longer rely solely on these solutions to run operations. This is due to a variety of reasons, including the need to increase data volume and speeds to improve productivity, enhance communication and increase optimization throughout the factory.

Today, innovative manufacturers are unlocking their operational processes by strategically leveraging and adopting private networks. This  fresh approach to data networks is imperative as research indicates that private 5G cellular networks are a promising solution, driving efficiency, enhancing automation, and propelling manufacturing into the future.

What are private 5G cellular networks?

Private 5G cellular networks are localized area networks using licensed, shared or unlicensed wireless spectrum, coupled with LTE or 5G technology. They are designed to be configured to support specific requirements within a specific geographic area.

Research shows that manufacturers are investing in private 5G cellular networks as they become increasingly aware of the many benefits. For example:

  • Speed and flexibility deliver rapid data transmission to power informed decision-making processes.
  • Lower and more predictable latency minimizes signal delay between devices, which is particularly critical to robotics and autonomous vehicles.
  • Expanded device connectivity facilitates numerous connections to a broader array of machines and sensors, which is vital for seamless digital transformation.
  • Enhanced security ensures significantly more secure data transfer through dedicated frequencies and end-to-end encryption.
  • Superior, seamless coverage enables access in various environments, including both indoors and outdoors, expediting connectivity for machines and workers alike.
  • Better governance allows meticulous control over permitted devices on the network.
  • Built-in mobility ensures seamless handovers as devices move within the network.

Getting started with private 5G cellular networks

There are three key elements needed to start taking advantage of the benefits of private 5G cellular networks: a comprehensive plan, an effective deployment and a reliable technology partner.

Creating a comprehensive plan

Effective planning is the cornerstone of successful private network implementation. A comprehensive plan should include:

  • Specificity – Determine precisely where and how the private network will be applied. Identify practical and cost-effective deployment areas that promote automation and digitalization.
  • Simplicity – Begin with uncomplicated use cases before advancing to more intricate applications. This incremental approach facilitates learning and prevents costly mistakes.
  • Clarity – Establish a clear data architecture plan prior to deployment. Understand the implementation locations of use cases and how they drive usage in the network.
  • Strategy – Devise an operational plan outlining network maintenance procedures and protocols for seamless addition of new devices. Clearly define roles and responsibilities within the organization and identify network overseers.
  • Innovation – Consider the private network as an innovation hub supporting a wide range of applications. Avoid fixating on a single stand-out use case; instead, focus on its potential to enable a multitude of applications.
  • Stakeholder buy-in – Obtain commitment and support from key players at all levels before deploying the network. Collaboration and alignment are crucial for a successful private network implementation.

Achieving an effective deployment

Deploying a private network in a manufacturing environment demands careful planning and attention to detail to ensure optimal results. The following are key insights to guide a successful deployment:

  • Pay attention to the specifications. It’s critical to ensure the compatibility of private network equipment with existing infrastructure and its ability to withstand the operating environment.
  • Choose between internal or external design. Internal design provides local control and implementation but can be more costly and time consuming. Collaborating with vendors and partners can expedite the private network deployment, but it may involve relinquishing some control over the design and implementation.
  • Consider multimode equipment operating 4G and 5G simultaneously. This approach leverages cost-effective LTE devices currently available today while accommodating more demanding 5G devices in the future.
  • Plan for long-term scalability. Emphasize a modular design to allow for growth and expansion, addressing future needs early in the network design process.
  • Conduct comprehensive testing and validation. Assess whether the network supports targeted use cases and meets mobility, throughput and latency requirements. Ensure proper execution of network handovers and verify compliance with quality-of-service standards for each access point. Validate radio locations, channels, site names and parameters in alignment with the planned design and documentation.

Choosing a reliable technology partner

A reliable partner not only ensures the successful implementation of the network, but also anticipates subsequent needs based on the desired future state. When considering potential partners, look for the following important characteristics:

  • Ability to secure spectrum – A proficient partner will possess experience in securing 5G spectrum for private networks, providing guidance through the application process and ensuring the acquisition of needed spectrum for network deployment.
  • Capacity to scale the network over time – Because global deployments often involve regulatory complexities, this skill becomes especially valuable and pertinent.
  • The commitment to ensure the project’s success – The partner must be willing to be involved throughout the entire process, from initial planning and deployment to ongoing management and support.
  • Real-world manufacturing experience – A partner that understands the industry’s unique needs and challenges will be able to help design a private network tailored to the specific requirements of the environment, aligning seamlessly with the manufacturers’ goals.

Accelerate your connected transformation with Ericsson private 5G

Ericsson Private 5G (EP5G) is a next-generation private network, tailored to drive Industry 4.0, the modernization and digitalization of infrastructures and business process operations. When implementing EP5G, organizations can utilize both 4G LTE and 5G standalone connectivity through EP5G, gaining security while optimizing and simplifying business-critical operations through data creation, collection and analysis.

Learn more

Download the Ericsson and IndustryWeek paper to discover:

  • How manufacturers are investing in and adopting private 5G cellular networks
  • Foundational private 5G cellular network deployment use cases
  • Real-world examples of private 5G cellular networks in action in manufacturing operations

Read more:

Ericsson Private Networks

How private networks are helping manufactuers

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