Smart Factories Run More Efficiently Thanks to MicroRAN 5G Private Network

November 13, 2023

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Smart Factories Run More Efficiently Thanks to MicroRAN 5G Private Network

Today’s manufacturing facilities are far smarter than those of just a few years ago. The reasons behind that are many:

  • Automation and the use of robotics has advanced rapidly
  • Security is paramount
  • Communications channels have outpaced previous generations

The key to these many of these technologies generally lies in the Edge computer, as without the right platform at the Edge, the whole system likely will not operate properly. That Edge computer must have the necessary horsepower to drive the application. It must have an abundance of I/O to handle various data types, and it must be flexible enough to handle changes and upgrades, both in terms of hardware and software, as the technology is still evolving at a rapid pace. And of course, the security must be top-notch.

If we assume that the high-performance Edge computer is a given, the next technology that must rise to the occasion is the communications link. The latest technology—5G—has the chops to handle the amount of data moving around the modern manufacturing facility, even when AI and predictive maintenance functionality is being deployed. And, if that private network is implemented correctly, it can be as secure, or likely more secure, than any of the traditional existing technologies and legacy networks.

ADLINK’s MicroRAN 5G architecture brings together the pieces to drive this efficient private network, and keep it secure at the same time. It consists of three key components: a small cell radio, an Edge server, and the 5G software. Note that for larger areas, additional small-cell radios can be deployed, and that would have no impact on security.

The 5G core, an end-to-end client, helps reduce the potential attack surface and provides a high amount of access control. The small-cell radio, designed with a MIMO antenna structure, measures just 250 by 250 by 65 mm and consumes less than 60 W. And the Edge server is based on an Intel Xeon Ice Lake-D-1747NTE microprocessor running at 2.0 GHz.

The promise of the MicroRAN solution is a compact and simplified (easier to deploy and manage) architecture; universal connectivity; up to 25 5G end nodes, and unlimited Wi-Fi and/or wired users. And of course, it provides enhanced security.

Safe and secure smart factories are no longer discussed in future tense. They are here today and the provide features that make it the right time to dive in, thanks to ADLINK’s MicroRAN 5G private network architecture. Some key features that should be noted include the ability to integrate 5G, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet devices in a single 5G management platform; the time sync card is integrated into the 5GC server, reducing the size and complexity of the platform; and an operating temperature of -5°C to +55°C, eliminating the need for a server room within the facility.