5G is in the news a lot right now — but not always as a manufacturing game changer, which it is. What is 5G, what difference will it make, and what should you do to get ready?
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of wireless communications technology. It’s expected to be much faster and more powerful than current mobile networks. It can deliver up to 20 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) with 10x less latency end-to-end.
With more capacity and limited latency, 5G connectivity will support the Internet of Industrial Things much better than the current 4G networks.
Current predictions suggest that 5G will be available globally in 2035.
When you hear about 5G in the media, you probably hear about super-fast movie downloads or awesome gaming speeds. That’s not the most important information for manufacturing. Massive connectivity is the thing that should be most exciting for manufacturing — more sensors, machines, and connections in general will make IoT more affordable and more powerful.
Is 5G bad for our health?
Oh, yes, there’s that other group of headlines. Conspiracy theorists were suggesting that 5G could cause cancer, and now are suggesting that 5G weakens the human immune system, leading to coronavirus outbreaks.
In fact, 5G operates with radio waves. Radio waves are on the low end of the magnetic spectrum, and have been shown by the International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) to be safe for human beings.
Wuhan, the province where COVID-19 was first reported, is one of the areas where 5G has been adopted early. This coincidence seems to be the source of the connection people have made between 5G and coronavirus.
There is no evidence that 5G is bad for people.
How can 5G help factories?
Faster, more robust connections will allow facilities to do a lot of things that haven’t been practical until now. We’ve talked before about using Virtual Reality to make repairs, for example. With 5G, that could be a reality.
It’s not the case that 5G will roll out and all our machinery will automatically connect better, though. We’ll need new 5G phones to take advantage of the improve connections, and our factories will need updating, too. In fact, the connections must be made with specific 5G devices or services. Your current machinery will have to be made 5G capable.
Rexroth can help. Rexroth’s new ctrlX AUTOMATION control technology comes with 5G built in and can connect a wide range of industrial devices. That’s your opportunity to get the benefits of 5G in your facility.
In the meantime, if you need Rexroth electric motion control service or support, we are your first line of defense. Contact us immediately.