If you had to make a list of technologies that have ushered in the biggest benefits to the world of manufacturing, wireless connectivity would undoubtedly be right at the top.
Cellular networks have, among other things, ushered in the era of the Internet of Things in manufacturing environments everywhere. Also commonly referred to as the IoT for short, the Internet of Things refers to sensors, equipment and other assets that are all connected to one another, creating and sharing data at all times. According to one recent study, there were already more than 10 billion IoT devices as of 2021 – a number that is expected to climb to 25.4 billion by as soon as 2030.
Of course, when you’re talking about that many devices – and the volume of connected devices that would be present in even a small manufacturing operation – the scenario isn’t without its challenges. Too many devices could choke the network, creating bandwidth issues and blocking organizational leaders from the analytics and insight these assets are supposed to bring with them in the first place.
Enter: 5G Connectivity
Thankfully, 5G wireless connectivity is becoming increasingly commonplace and serves as a viable solution to these and other issues that could hamper manufacturing efforts. It brings with it features like:
- A data rate of up to 10 Gbps, which is up to 100 times faster than previous generation 4G networks.
- Latency rates of one millisecond or less.
- 1000 times bandwidth per unit area when compared to 4G.
- An increase of literally 100 times the number of devices that can be connected in a particular area over 4G LTE networks.
- 99.999% availability.
So essentially what this means is that thanks to 5G, the full potential of the Industrial Internet of Things can finally be realized. Organizational leaders won’t have to pick and choose which devices are connected and which ones aren’t. They won’t have to worry about sensors suddenly being unable to share data due bandwidth issues. Latency won’t delay the amount of time it takes to get to the insight and analytics they need. Everything will happen in real-time, exactly the way it should.
This also has big implications in terms of things like industrial automation. Now, even smaller businesses will have the speed and coverage necessary to embrace things like collaborative robots that work alongside human employees, even in tight and restricted environments. Truly, 5G connectivity is poised to act as the foundation of “the manufacturing facility of the future.”
As coverage hits one billion subscriptions by the end of 2022, it’s safe to say that the factory of the future will be here a lot sooner than most people realized.
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