Mr. Tuchs, Mr. Volk, why do you need 5G for production?
Tuchs: The 5G mobile communications standard is efficient, can be used flexibly and is fast. We are already using it to achieve transfer rates of up to one gigabit per second, with an upward trend. The latencies, meaning the response times, will be just a thousandth of a second in the future, which is about 150 times faster than a human blink of an eye.
So, we’re talking about wireless real-time communication, right?
Volk: We’re definitely at a level suitable for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), meaning for the network of the future, which enables seamless communication between facilities and machines on the one hand, and people on the other hand. The IIoT is a key technology for the Smart Factory with flexible production processes and intelligent technology, which is controlled based on data.
And what is the advantage of a private network?
Tuchs: The main advantage is that we are the only ones allowed to use its frequency. That’s also the key difference from wireless LAN – whose frequencies are public and can be interrupted by any smart phone on the factory premises. In a private 5G network, we have full control over the air interface and are able to prioritise capacities ourselves, which considerably increases reliability. It also enables uninterrupted transfers between the radio cells and a very high number of devices per cell. If local problems arise, we can resolve them ourselves quickly. That wouldn’t be possible using the public cellular network.
Volk: Our pilot network operates at a frequency range of between 3.7 and 3.8 gigahertz, meaning that it has a bandwidth of 100 megahertz. Which is enough to be able to cut it into virtual slices, the technical term for this is “slicing”. This means that we can assign different priorities to various areas. To give an example: in a crisis situation, a rapid digital intervention is more important than the routine detection of maintenance tasks.