2 new partnerships illustrate how private 5G networking solutions are boosting automakers’ connectivity (ERIC, DMLRY, VOD)

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Automakers are turning to networking and telecommunications solutions as they look for ways to improve the precision of manufacturing operations and implement connected equipment.

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Rather than relying upon wired systems or public-access cellular networks, they’re looking to private 5G networks for their facilities to create dedicated, fast, and secure communication channels. 

Here are two new partnerships that illustrate just how this space is evolving:

  • Swedish networking provider Ericsson and Telefónica Germany are working with Mercedes-Benz to build a private 5G network at a new automotive production facility in southern Germany. The 215,000-square-foot manufacturing center, dubbed Factory 56, will incorporate machinery that natively connects to a 5G network that will also be put in place. Using 5G, the equipment will be able to share data and receive commands wirelessly and over longer ranges than other comparably fast standards, such as Wi-Fi. And by forgoing wired networking lines and equipment, the facility can be reconfigured to incorporate changes to manufacturing orders or procedures more quickly. Mercedes-Benz plans to take lessons from Factory 56 and apply them to other facilities going forward.
  • Ericsson has also partnered with Vodafone Germany and German electric microcar manufacturer e.Go on 5G connectivity. Ericsson’s private network solution will help e.Go enable 5G connectivity in its 91,000-square-foot factory in Aachen, Germany, using 36 antennas managed via network slicing and mobile edge computing systems. The aim of this networking solution is to use a minimal number of network access nodes to provide real-time communications throughout the facility and enable various systems and equipment to coordinate activities.

The bigger picture: Private networking solutions offer enterprises of all kinds greater versatility and control over communications within their facilities.

Business Insider Intelligence spoke with Jaime Laguna, global program sales leader for mining at Nokia, about the company’s private networking solutions. He highlighted three main reasons that companies would opt for a private network in comparison to a public one:

  • Private networks yield better performance because they can be tailored to support mission-critical applications above all else.Private networks are purpose-built for enterprise applications, compared with public networks, which are offered by a service provider. That’s important, Laguna told us, because “the use cases that the service providers are used to are not necessarily mission-critical applications. Latency for a mission-critical application is critical.” 
  • These types of networks can also offer enhanced security. Private networks are isolated and segmented away from other traffic, and retain all information within their parameters. This limits the possibility that they could be breached. 
  • And a private network is dedicated to a single business, offering greater reliability and a faster response to any service issues that may arise. On a public network, businesses must share services with other customers.

The automotive space is among the first to take to private 5G networks, likely due to its volume and long but predictable production and transition cycles. This demand will expand beyond the automotive sector in the coming years as companies look to take control of their connectivity as it becomes a more central part of their everyday operations.

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