Industrial areas with large factories are of great potential and importance for factory automation in the production of electronics, cars, and appliances, as well as automatically controlled processes based on continuous data gathering and analysis. Yet these are harsh interference environments that can compromise link performance.
This ONE5G trial is an example of how 5G technologies can overcome today’s limitations by supporting:
Massive Machine-type Communication (mMTC), which typically involve a very high number of low-end devices.
Ultra-reliable Low-latency Communications (URLLC), which have stringent requirements for latency and reliability, e.g. for wireless control and monitoring in factories.
Goals of the trial and testbed usage
Proving the suitability of 5G technologies in supporting requirements in industrial areas with large factories.
Target KPI: reliability.
Investigating the potential of small cell 5G multi-connectivity schemes in industrial environments for enhanced reliability in URLLC services.
Use of the Aalborg University testbed for demonstrating small cell 5G multi-connectivity for reliability enhancement for URLLC in industrial environments.
Use of the WINGS ICT Solutions testbed for demonstrating slice negotiation and management functionalities in industrial settings are demonstrated through the .
Architecture and Trial Overview
High-level architecture with 5G technologies focusing on URLLC industrial services:
5G infrastructure for an industrial environment with a set of smart cells.
Software components underpinning infrastructures with 5G functionalities.
5G URLLC Manager enabling URLLC related decisions, such as multi-connectivity parameters, cell selection parameters, and communicating with the industrial infrastructure through the internet.
5G slice negotiation and management component performing the negotiation process between the vertical side (requirements) and the operator side (capabilities and availability). Forwarding the decisions of the negotiation process to the slice manager, which creates new slices by interacting with the industrial infrastructure.
Demonstrating that small cell connectivity enhances reliability. The trial proved the potential of multi-connectivity schemes (PDCP packet duplication, Single Frequency Network, Coordinated multipoint transmission) in improving the link quality of smart user equipment (UE) in industrial settings. These UEs demand reliable communication compared with traditional single link connection.
The trail at the Aalborg University premises was a dense scenario deployment with 4 small cells located in an industrial lab. Each cell featured 1 access point (AP) and 1 UE. Each node (AP or UE) is multi-antenna capable. Two of the four cells are “smart”, that is, supporting the ONE5G technology components for multi-connectivity. The other two are background cells to assess the overall network throughput. The focus is only on the downlink, with one smart UE benefitting from multi-connectivity and three UEs associated to three cells in single cell mode. The UEs can be set to operate with Maximum Ratio Combining (MRC) or Interference Rejection Combining (IRC) receivers.
Outcomes and Impacts
ONE5G has worked with operators, component and infrastructure vendors, universities and research institutes to bring advances to factories of the future in terms of time critical, reliable process optimisation; non-time-critical communication including sensing and factory logistics.
ONE5G has showed how multi-connectivity can bring significant performance improvement for UEs suffering from harsh fading or interference conditions. In this trial, smart UEs select the two cells providing multi-connectivity depending on the strength of their receive signal.
ONE5G has analysed and validated:
PDCP packet duplication.
Single Frequency Network (SFN).
Coherent Joint Transmission (JT).
All the nodes are controlled by a testbed server, which also collects the relevant measurement reports by the UEs, calculates the relevant KPIs and displays them live in a GUI.
ONE5G has analysed:
The benefits of multi-connectivity in terms of Signal plus Interference plus Noise Ratio (SINR) improvement for the smart UE, and its impact on the overall network throughput.
Multi-connectivity helps ensure that the “receive SINR” by the smart UE is always above a minimum threshold for guaranteeing the data connection.
This ONE5G trial also implements mechanisms for the automated negotiation of price offers for providing certain quality levels of network slices fulfilling industrial service requirements.
Partners involved: Aalborg University, WINGS ICT Solutions
Other partners: Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (Coordinator), B-COM, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Freie Universität Berlin, Huawei Technologies Duesseldorf GmbH, Intel Germany GmbH, Malaga University, NOKIA Bells Lab (Denmark, Germany), Orange, Samsung Electronics UK, Telefónica