ZTE's 5G-based Industrial Field Network

Late last year, ZTE released 5G-based Industrial Field Network Whitepaper at the 2023 Analyst Conference, marking its first launch of an industry production site empowered by 5G for overseas markets. 

Quoting from their press release:

This whitepaper aims to provide a full range of capabilities for scenarios in the production and manufacturing fields in response to the strong demands for low latency, low jitter, and high reliability. Additionally, the whitepaper is designed to address the rapid iteration and changes that occur in commodity production by providing a series of solutions for network and computing integration, service guarantee, and all-round “self-serving” capabilities, to help promote the deepening of 5G applications in industrial field networks and empower the intelligent transformation of production domains.

The typical applications of the current industrial Internet are facing the challenge of information isolated islands caused by the digitization of "single-point" business, and the traditional IT and OT networks of enterprises have formed invisible "walls," which hinder the digital transformation of production in enterprises. Currently, under the trend of "fully connected factories," this whitepaper has been developed. It combines the project practices of ZTE, operators, and industry partners to present a detailed construction plan for factory-level, workshop-level, and production-line-level 5G private networks to industry customers. 

The whitepaper conducts in-depth research on the needs of typical industry production scenarios, such as flexible production in the 3C (Computer, Communication, Consumer) manufacturing industry, unmanned cranes in the steel industry, and remote control of gantry cranes in ports. The whitepaper identifies key capabilities required for 5G industrial on-site networks in production scenarios, encompassing:

  • Comprehensive 5G Solutions: Integration of computing power and 5G connectivity, provides the flexibility of on-site 3rd party application deployment.
  • Service Guarantee: Low latency, high bandwidth, and high reliability to meet production requirements.
  • Enterprise Self-Serving Capability: Simplified 5G private network planning, debugging, and maintenance.

The whitepaper proposes distinct 5G field network deployment modes—Independent and Integrated—to align with the diverse production characteristics of various industries. It offers tailored solutions covering:

  • Computing Power Supply: Utilizing 5G network architecture, the whitepaper advocates for on-demand deployment of enterprise services through series industrial gateways on the terminal side and NodeEngine at 5G base stations. This facilitates flexible data integration and business linkages.
  • Key Networking Technologies: Ensuring robust business connections with low latency, high bandwidth, high reliability, closed-loop SLA service guarantee, and Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN). Redundancy backup, data stream splitting, and Frame Replication and Elimination for Reliability (FRER) enhance network reliability.
  • Supporting Business Capabilities: Enabling on-demand cloud-based PLC, video optimization, front-end data acquisition, and cloud-based AGV dispatching station for 5G private networks. These capabilities can be seamlessly integrated with third-party applications, providing industry customers a comprehensive network-cloud deployment solution.
  • Self-Serving Capability: The whitepaper introduces an innovative approach to simplify 5G private network deployment and operation, enhancing the efficiency of enterprise service deployment and operation.

The complete press release is here. The whitepaper is available here. ZTE's private 5G products for vertical industries is available here. The video below highlights ZTE's vision of Private 5G networks for Critical production:

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