What does 5G look like for Industrial IoT?

February 26, 2019 - 3 Comments

The next big thing in wireless is almost here. 5G mobile technology will soon be available, bringing the promise of compelling new uses cases and capabilities to transform industrial IoT (IIoT). But how will 5G impact networking architecture for industrial environments? Our new white paper, Demystifying 5G in Industrial IoT, takes a deep dive into what you need to know.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth-generation mobile technology designed to support higher broadband throughput, ultra-reliable and low-latency communication, and massive scale for IoT communications. Providing multiple access technologies, new core functions, and greater network management controls, 5G will enable diverse use cases and business models for companies across many industries such as manufacturing, transportation, utilities, oil & gas, public safety and more.

Expanding network capabilities

One of the key benefits of 5G is “network slicing,” which will allow businesses to get different levels of connectivity (from their service provider) to accommodate multiple use cases. 5G slices will be based on the three primary use case categories:

  • Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB): eMBB provides higher bandwidth and higher speeds for everything from smart city applications and stadiums, to streaming infotainment in cars and planes, to seamless cloud services and fleet management telematics for safety and diagnostics.
  • Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (uRLLC): uRLLC supports real-time, mission-critical communications such as autonomous driving, industrial robotics automation, and emergency disaster response and location services. The tactile response time is expected to be less than 1 millisecond.
  • Massive Internet of Things (mIoT): MIoT serves billions of low-cost, long range, ultra-energy efficient connected devices across remote locations, as well as cloud applications with periodic, infrequent communication.

Optimizing networks to the IoT edge

To capitalize on the opportunities of 5G, companies will need industrial IoT networking products that could evolve to the 5G connectivity spectrum to cover diverse use cases. As an example, Cisco’s new modular IR1101 industrial router supports both cellular and low-power connectivity, extending secure, reliable enterprise networking from the factory floor to remote outdoor sites.

Companies will also need to tackle the challenge of scale. Managing thousands or millions of connected devices will require automation tools for zero-touch deployment, and centralized control to simplify network management. While these considerations can seem like barriers to adoption, at Cisco we’re continuing to roll out next-generation IoT networking solutions that bridge these gaps.

More and more, industrial enterprises are digitizing their operations to improve efficiency, lower production costs, increase safety and maximize profits. Download our Demystifying 5G in Industrial IoT white paper and get in-depth insights on 5G, from understanding the system architecture, frequency spectrum and network slicing, to industry innovations that become possible with 5G.


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  1. Great article with excellent leads.

  2. I really like the ending where they give a relevant checklist of things to do next.
    Standards and compliances – Which ones are required by your organization? Industrial protocols are well defined, guaranteeing interoperability and openness. Several organizations work on specifications that would require compliancy, i.e., 5G Americas, 5GAA (5G Automotive Association), 5G-ACIA (5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation), etc.

    Spectrum – Will you pilot 5G over public services or private spectrum? If private, what is your regional frequency band allocation?

    Coverage and topology – Where will the technology be deployed? Industrial environments, such as the plant floor, control loops, etc.? Understanding the environment for noise and interferences, what are the number of devices and base stations to be deployed?

    Physical characteristics – How will you compare your 5G deployment with other technologies, such as Wi-Fi 6, deterministic Ethernet, LoRaWAN in regard of data rate, latency, etc.

    Device type and cost – What are the typical devices you expect to connect through 5G? What is the estimated cost
    compared to 4G? Wi-Fi? LoRaWAN (for NB-IoT)?

    Operations and manageability at scale – How large do you foresee your 5G deployment? How should it integrate with centralized automation tools, such as DNA-C, SD-WAN, Control Center and others?

  3. Great article and great white paper explaining very well what will happen with 5G and IoT …particularly the difference between LTE Cat. M and NB-IoT and the critical role of MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) which is interesting for companies already involved in Fog Computing !!!