State of private networks
MFA is launching a private network tracker in partnership with industry analyst firm, Mobile Experts, to provide insights into the state of private networks across various industry verticals and enterprises as well as regions where private networks are gaining ground. Click here to download the report: Private Wireless Market Update. Click here if you’d like to access the full report from Mobile Experts.
Private Network Applications
While 5G promises high bandwidth capacity, lower latency, and massive IoT connections, the deterministic link capability is the most exciting part. Keeping uptimes high is crucial in any manufacturing process.
Key applications for the Manufacturing segment include:
- Connected manufacturing robots
- Autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs)
- 4G video and machine vision for quality control
- Augmented reality (AR) goggles for remote diagnostics and inspection
- AR/VR to gain access to expert resources during troubleshooting
- Reconfigurable manufacturing workflows
Distribution & Logistics
Key applications for the Distribution and Logistics segment include:
- Automated flow management employing video surveillance cameras for security access, material handling, and inventory management
- Autonomous guided vehicles within the warehouse to transport goods from the unloading dock to the warehouse for inventory control and management
- 5G advanced indoor positioning features, along with sensors attached to packages and machines, to enable the logistics company to track the locations of assets
- Geofencing to determine when a tagged device enters or leaves a particular area to track key assets
Oil & Gas
Key applications for the Oil & Gas segment include:
- Voice and data communication system for workers in remote locations for worker safety and retention
- Communication links to family members for worker retention for employees who often spend months offshore or in remote sites
- Mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) or push-to-video (MCPTx) services to improve productivity through group calls, video sharing, geo-location, and other advanced services
- Video monitoring and intelligent video surveillance systems to control security access
- Remote monitoring of environmental sensors for gas leakage detection to prevent potentially fatal accidents; Alert information from the sensors can be integrated with actuators to stop leakage for accident prevention
- Asset tracking and geo-location of assets dispersed across remote oil rigs to provide the centralized operations center visibility of critical assets
- Visibility to support predictive maintenance of critical equipment to reduce unplanned downtime
- Digital twin technology to replicate physical assets
- Connected industrial robots to handle repetitive tasks in hazardous environments, including drones equipped with video and other environmental sensors to monitor plant facilities for quality control and inspection
Top mining companies are moving towards full autonomy, leveraging private wireless networks to connect, monitor, and automate dispersed minefield operations. Two primary objectives drive IMT applications found in this sector: worker safety and operational efficiency.Key applications for the Mining segment include:
- Backhaul for video traffic data for remote monitoring
- Real-time monitoring of environmental sensors, such as ventilation systems in underground mines
- Remote control of drilling rigs and autonomous vehicles, such as unmanned hauling trucks
- Unmanned drones and video-equipped robots to inspect mines
- Simplified communication platforms for personal voice calls and emergency communication systems with a private LTE/5G network
Legacy utility communication networks are built on narrowband technologies put in place many decades ago. One of the drivers of WAN modernization based on private LTE and 5G is to tap into the broad cellular ecosystem and consolidate legacy wireless systems. In addition, with distributed renewable energy sources from solar panels on rooftops to neighborhood solar farms coming online, modern grid systems must adapt to how and where energy is sourced and distributed. By investing in next-generation grid networks, utilities can consolidate multiple disparate wireless technologies and support smart metering and other revenue-generating opportunities like smart city applications, such as smart lighting and municipal smart lighting.
Key applications for the Utilities segment include:
- Intelligent instrumentation of the distribution assets at substations to improve the reliability of power delivery from generation to the distribution grid and ultimately to customer locations
- Smart metering and control applications to make the distribution grid more intelligent
- Remote monitoring to measure electricity consumption and provide granular data on the status of the distribution grid, e.g., outage detection, in near real-time
- High voltage transformer protection: with sub-10 millisecond latency, a high-voltage transformer protection application may be possible using a private 5G network
Shipping Ports and Airports
Key applications for the Airports segment include:
- Improved aircraft turnaround time through seamless ticketing, baggage handling, de-icing, flight diagnostic downloads, real-time updates to ground crews, ticketing agents, security personnel, etc.
Key applications for the Shipping Ports segment include:
- Remote control of crane operations, container trucks, and other heavy machinery. With real-time video streaming and analytics, a crane operator may be able to operate multiple lifts and cranes situated at an operations center. As a result, remote operations can increase productivity, save labor costs, and improve worker safety.
- Real-time video surveillance to maintain port security
- Real-time video surveillance with computer vision to maintain security control and access
- Real-time video for handling heavy machineries, such as cranes and unmanned container trucks, in remote command and control operations.
- Drone inspection of port operations
- Video-mounted cranes and containers tagged with sensors to track containers to help locate goods (within containers) in ports.
- Increased visibility of the supply chain to logistics and trucking companies and end customers
Key applications for the Agriculture segment include:
- Farming equipment, such as tractors and IoT sensors for irrigation systems and others, needs to be connected and work in unison for situational awareness of the entire farming and livestock operations.
- Remote monitoring of IoT sensors to check water quality, soil conditions, weather, and other environmental conditions to help determine when to plant, water, and harvest.
- Autonomous farming vehicles, such as connected tractors and trucks, for planting and transporting crops. For example, with improved 5G positioning, autonomous tractors can plant seeds with better precision for higher crop yields.
- Video-equipped drones can be employed to monitor the vast farmland and livestock remotely.
- Wide-area private cellular networks in rural farms to enable voice and data communication among farmworkers in the field and distribution partners.