Product Reviews

Industrial 5G is coming

Industrial 5G will change the way we makedecisions, manufacture products, and maintain factories.


Industrie 4.0, the smart factory, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – these are the future of industrial manufacturing. Designing production plants and intralogistics to be more flexible, autonomous, and efficient requires the right communication framework and comprehensive connectivity. The new 5G communication standard opens up important new prospects.

Before the green light for the smart factory can be given, new concepts and technologies are required – from production to intralogistics and transportation. There is already talk of applications such as mobile robots in production, autonomous vehicles in the transportation and logistics sectors, IIoT, augmented reality applications for service and maintenance technicians, and virtual reality applications for users. But all these applications place demands that would quickly push today’s networks to their limits. The unprecedented reliability, extremely low latencies, and comprehensive IIoT connectivity of industrial 5G can clear the way for pioneering applications in the industrial environment.

In its search for long-term, sustainable communication solutions, Siemens is now investigating the terrain for industrial 5G and actively supporting the development and technological implementation of the new standard.

5G is going to change industry – with its speed, with the multitude of devices you can connect, and with its reliability. We at Siemens have entered the next phase: In our own private stand-alone 5G test network, we’re testing industrial 5G communication and applications with the aim to develop a whole 5G ecosystem suited for the industry. With Industrial 5G, we’re making the future happen.

Eckard Eberle, CEO Process Automation

Industrial 5G update

From a vision to reality – the first mobile industrial 5G router from Siemens is ready to go: SCALANCE MUM856-1 supports 4G as well as 5G. In an IP65 enclosure, the device was developed for applications in demanding industrial environments and can be used in both public and private 5G campus networks.

Siemens is driving the development of Industrial 5G. In addition to announcing the new mobile industrial 5G router SCALANCE MUM856-1, the company has set another milestone on the path to Industrial 5G at its own Automotive Showroom and Test Center in Nuremberg, Germany: a private standalone 5G network in an industrial environment that is based exclusively on Siemens prototypes.

Expectations are running high for the potential of 5G wireless communication for industrial applications. To test its feasibility, a proof of concept for Industrial 5G has been set up at the Siemens Automotive Showroom and Testcenter. The private 5G installation uses the 3.7 to 3.8 GHz 5G frequenzy band.

Here comprehensive tests are being carried out in a real industrial environment to thoroughly test the performance of Industrial 5G. The Industrial 5G test network is being used to test concrete industrial applications with 5G, such as the operation of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) for smart production, logistics and highly flexible manufacturing. Whether it’s the reliability of wireless communication, its real-time behavior, or its safety in interactions between humans and machines, all aspects are being rigorously tested at the Nuremberg Test Center under actual industrial conditions.

Who is the best choice to meet your industrial 5G needs?

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Developing and introducing something new always leads to a lot of questions, even before it’s completed. And it’s the same for Industrial 5G. That’s why our experts have compiled these answers to some frequently asked questions for you.

  1. Speeds 10-20 times faster than with 4G – this scenario is called enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB)
  2. Highest Reliability with lowest guaranteed latencies below 10 ms with Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (URRLC)
  3. Up to 1 million devices can be connected per square kilometer thanks to Massive Machine-Type Communication (mMTC)

But you won’t be able to fully enjoy all these benefits at the same time in a single network: Users must decide what their application needs, and structure their network accordingly. For example, if you need maximum data rates, the network can’t also provide extremely low latencies at the same time. If your focus is on the lowest possible latencies, you need to make sacrifices in terms of data rates or the number of participants connected.

In most cases, consumer applications need high data rates, for example to stream videos in 4K while traveling. Reliability and ultra-low latency are the most important factors for industrial applications. That’s why industrial customers will choose a different focus when setting up their 5G networks. Because of these different focuses, we get two different demand profiles: Public vs. industrial.

Public 5G networks

Public 5G networks are operated by mobile network operators, and make 5G available in a given region – just like the mobile wireless networks we have today.

The main focus for operators of typical mobile wireless networks is to ensure plenty of bandwidth for as many users as possible, for example so they can stream films in 4K while on the move.

Private 5G networks

A private/local 5G network is operated by the user himself, e.g. such as an industrial company, and is therefore designed to suit its specific needs, just like a WLAN today.

Industrial networks tend to focus more on low latency and high availability, and private 5G networks can be configured to suit these requirements. Private 5G networks also offer data security: In a self-managed network, the data stays in the company, and the owner can decide which data is processed where.

Spectrum must be made available for the use of private networks. In Germany, the federal government has reserved 100 MHz bandwidth (from 3.7 to 3.8 GHz) for local use, such as in industrial companies. That gives businesses in Germany the opportunity to lease spectrum for an annual fee and use it exclusively within their own business premises. Applications must be submitted to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA).

The fee is broken down as follows:
fee = 1,000 + B x t x 5 (6a1 + a2), where

  • 1,000: Basic fee of €1,000
  • B: Assigned bandwidth from 10 MHz to 100 MHz
  • T: Length of allocation in years or parts of a year, based on each month or part thereof
  • a1: Coverage area in km² based on residential land and transport infrastructure
  • a2: Coverage area in km² based on other types of land

Non-standalone networks

With non-standalone 5G networks, part of a 4G network is used for device management. 5G spectrum and technology are used only to transmit application data.

Standalone networks

In a standalone 5G network, both the application data and the network management data are transmitted using 5G. Standalone 5G networks are currently not available yet at a global level. It will take a few years before these purely 5G networks become available in large numbers.

  • … is 5G communication that meets the demands of industrial applications.
  • … is based on Release 16 (or later) of the wireless standard* that supports the URLLC scenario.
  • … runs on hardware designed for industrial environments that differ from consumer-based applications.
  • … is run in a local private network and supports industrial protocols (OPC UA, PROFINET, Safety, etc.).

Depending on the application, not all four of these aspects may be satisfied. For remote access via mobile wireless 5G networks, for example, Release 16 or a local private network are not essential. To operate a mobile robot, however, all four aspects must be covered.

* The Standard is generated by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project), a grouping of mobile telecommunications standards organizations,

Industrie 4.0 applications

Many countries already enjoy a high level of industrial automation. But industrial companies must constantly improve their processes and find innovative ways to drive them forward in order to remain competitive and be able to respond quickly to changed market requirements. New applications like Industrial Edge, autonomous machines, intralogistics, and Augmented Reality applications for service technicians promise major potentials in this area. They all depend on extremely reliable wireless broadband communication with the lowest possible latencies.

Ultra-reliable connectivity and maximum bandwidth

Thanks to reliable, powerful broadband transmission and ultra-low latencies, Industrial 5G is the response to a need for end-to-end wireless networking of production, maintenance, and logistics, ensuring a significant improvement in efficiency and greater flexibility in industrial added value.

Autonomous logistics

Industrial 5G offers reliable data transmission with low latency, for example for the operation of automated guided vehicle systems (AGVs) in intralogistics.

Assisted work

Industrial 5G provides enough bandwidth to transmit large data volumes rapidly for Augmented Reality applications in an industrial setting, such as to support service technicians with additional audiovisual information for service and maintenance.

Mobile equipment

Industrial 5G provides necessary connectivity for the growing number of communications-capable system components and mobile devices like industrial tablets, field PGs, RFID scanners, etc.

Industrial Edge

Industrial 5G ensures the reliable connectivity and high bandwidth needed for smooth data exchange between edge devices and the cloud.

Industrial 5G. Makingnew applications possible.

Mobile equipment

Mobiles Equipment

From smartphones and field PGs to industrial tablet PCs and RFID handheld devices, the number of mobile devices in the industrial environment is growing dramatically. At the same time, an increasing number of devices is available for handling the growth in smart communication between machines and applications. All these devices require a reliable network. Industrial 5G provides the necessary connectivity.

Autonomous machines

Autonome Maschinen

Mobile robots in production as well as machines and devices that are seamlessly interconnected and communicate autonomously are basic components of highly flexible and, at the same time, efficient production – and for Industrie 4.0. They require low latencies and extremely reliable communication. Industrial 5G optimally meets these requirements.

Assisted Work

Assisted Work

In the future, augmented reality applications will ensure that service and maintenance technicians are deployed more rapidly, safely, and efficiently. But also machine operators can benefit from AR, for example for teach-in and operation. Industrial 5G provides the high bandwidth necessary for transmitting data-rich audiovisual information.

Autonomous logistics

Autonome Logistik

The future of efficient intralogistics depends on the autonomously navigating and cooperating vehicles and robots known as AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles). Industrial 5G guarantees the necessary low-latency and highly reliable data transmission.

Industrial Edge

Industrial Edge

Industrial Edge combines local, high-performance data processing directly on the automation level with the benefits of the cloud. Industrial 5G provides reliable connectivity and a high bandwidth for exchanging data between Edge devices and the cloud. The low latencies enable fast decision making. Results can be analyzed immediately and the analysis data shared and made globally accessible.

The Evolution of Industrial 5G

Industrial 5G. Bundle expertise.

How can the manufacturing and process industries consistently benefit from the new 5G communication standard? And what is needed for 5G to meet the high requirements of industry? The 5G-ACIA global initiative was established at the beginning of 2018 with these challenges in mind. As a member of this initiative, Siemens is directing the future of industry – in collaboration with other well-known companies from the automation and manufacturing industries and leading organizations in the field of information and communication technology.

Go to the 5G-ACIA website

Industrial 5G – Making the factory of tomorrow a reality

The new 5G communication standard opens up important new perspectives. In the panel, you can learn more about Europe’s biggest Industrial 5G test environment, as well as a look behind the scenes into present and future use cases. You will get also detailed insights into Siemens‘ first 5G product for industry.

Digital Connectivity with 5G – Where’s the journey heading?

It’s only a matter of time until the 5G is established in the industry. But is 5G ready for the industry? And is the industry ready for 5G? What are the use cases for 5G? These and many more question around “Digital connectivity with 5G” are answered in the panel discussion with speakers from Fraunhofer Institut, BASF and Siemens.

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What advantages will Industrial 5G bring to industrial verticals?

5G will change the way we make decisions, manufacture products, maintain factories and infrastructures. In this webinar, you will learn among others how high data rates, ultra-low latencies, and reliable and powerful broadband transmission can enable a significant boost in efficiency and flexibility in industrial value creation.

Get the recording


The development of industrial 5G is a process with many milestones. Don’t miss any of them! We’ll continue to keep you informed of all the latest developments, publications, media, and events relating to industrial 5G.


Read More Industrial Hardware Product Reviews

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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