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Small private wireless networks are making big waves in Industry 4.0

Nokia Industrial-grade Private Wireless solutions can power your journey to Industry 4.0

Private wireless networks based on cellular technologies are gaining traction as enterprises in asset-intensive industries move quickly to capitalize on Industry 4.0.

These enterprises need mission-critical networks that can reliably and securely connect their people and assets, enable industrial automation use cases, and help ensure a fast and successful digital transformation.

For most, small private 4.9G/LTE or 5G wireless networks tick all the boxes.

While each enterprise takes its own networking journey to Industry 4.0, a few key factors are driving the global uptick in industrial-grade private wireless deployments. These include the ongoing digitalization of operations, spectrum releases that make space for industries, including the ability to use Wi-Fi unlicensed spectrum (MulteFire), and continuing wireless and network technology evolution.

Industries are taking ownership of digital transformation

Innovative companies are choosing to deploy private wireless networks so they can take control of their digitalization destiny.

Today up to 70 percent of operational technology (OT) assets have yet to be connected in industrial sites. With private wireless, an enterprise can easily connect all of its OT assets to digitalize its processes and begin the journey to Industry 4.0 transformation.

Because the enterprise owns or controls a private wireless network, it can design and adapt the network to optimize coverage, capacity and performance across its industrial environment. As with a LAN, the enterprise has full control over network security, quality of service and the handling of its industrial data.

Countries are opening up wireless spectrum for industries

Many national governments have recognized that private wireless can be a key enabler for their efforts to stimulate economic growth and encourage onshoring and local production. Many are seizing the opportunity by making more wireless spectrum available to industries, which is in turn accelerating adoption and digitalization efforts.

In the US, the Federal Communications Commission created a new path to private wireless by realigning the 900 MHz band to enable broadband deployment by industries such as utilities and railroads. This adds to the earlier release of CBRS spectrum for all industrial sites. Countries across Europe are following suit with their own shared spectrum initiatives. In the UK, for example, Ofcom dedicated the 3.8–4.2 GHz band for local wireless networks and opened up shared spectrum in 26 GHz band for 5G indoor networks. Many of the manufacturing, transportation and energy industries are now using this spectrum to implement private 4G/LTE and 5G use cases.
Some vendors also support MulteFire, which enables private wireless deployments in unlicensed spectrum. This paves the way for mass industrial market adoption of private wireless and enables new nomadic site use cases such as outdoor sporting events, construction sites, broadcasting and field hospitals.

Industrial-grade private wireless is here

The evolution of cellular technology has helped make private wireless a more compelling option for industrial use than solutions based on Wi-Fi – an IT network technology that was originally intended for providing best-effort connectivity in offices.

Private wireless networks based on 3GPP 4.9G/LTE standards meet the critical demands of Industry 4.0 and OT applications with predictable performance, high multi-user capacity, pervasive indoor and outdoor coverage, low latency and seamless high-speed mobility. They can also overcome radio interference, support low-powered sensor communications and pave the way to the 5G future.

These options simplify the path to digitalization and can help reduce total cost of ownership compared to solutions based on legacy wireless technologies.

Nokia private wireless makes Industry 4.0 happen

Nokia private wireless solutions are helping industrial enterprises realize their Industry 4.0 ambitions. For example, Equinor, a leading oil, gas and wind power producer, will use Nokia private wireless solutions to support collaboration between teams across its installations. Arçelik Global, a leading manufacturer of consumer durables and electronics, will use a 5G-ready Nokia private wireless network to support its operations with video analytics, indoor positioning and enhanced AGV performance.

Find out how Nokia Industrial-grade Private Wireless solutions can power your journey to Industry 4.0 and beyond.