How 5G will revolutionize manufacturing and benefits it will provide industrial users

While 5G has the potential to enable a variety of new high-value use-cases, it will require a robust infrastructure capable of providing large quantities of bandwidth at an ultra-low latency while also reducing power consumption.

By Raza Khan September 9, 2023
Courtesy: Brett Sayles, CFE Media and Technology


Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the infrastructure requirements of large-scale 5G.
  • Understand breadth of new use-cases and applications 5G can enable.

5G insights

  • By 2025 5G connections in North America are expected to grow to 410 million.
  • AI applications, and the 5G technology that enables them, require higher bandwidth transmission capacity at extremely low latency and power without sacrificing performance.
  • 5G will enable a plethora of other technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), autonomous vehicles and machine learning.

How will increased AI use lead to a significant increase in data traffic as 5G transitions from talk to reality?

Precedence Research, in a GlobalNewsire release, forecast the AI market to surpass $1,597.1 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 38.1% from 2022, with demand coming from a variety of industries including retail, healthcare, food and beverage, automotive and logistics. AI applications, and the 5G technology that helps power them, require higher bandwidth transmission capacity at extremely low latency and power without sacrificing performance. These applications put an immense amount of pressure on the data center. This demand requires even more interconnects within one data center due to the parallel compute algorithms used and reduced latency, or time delay requirements, of a data center’s interconnects, which can affect the overall performance.

What are enabling technologies required to support 5G applications like virtual reality, autonomous vehicles and machine learning?

The use of 5G is growing at an exponential rate. In fact, by 2025 5G connections in North America are expected to grow to 410 million, said Statista [with around 200 million in 2023, according to multiple sources]. To address this growth, current 5G deployments need to increase capacity while decreasing power consumption and latency to move the data. That’s where optical technology will play a key role, as it helps current fiber deployments transfer data efficiently and sustainably, ensuring the appropriate infrastructure is in place for these types of use cases.

As smart cities expand demand for 5G, how can industrial applications, inside and outside facilities, benefit?

Improving systems, sustainability, mobility and more is driving the move towards smart cities and robust and reliable connectivity is playing a pivotal role to enable these transformations. As the smart city industry rolls out 5G, and eventually 5.5G and 6G, more optical capacity will be needed for front, mid and back haul networks running over the same limited amount of available fiber. Smart city networks require always-on connections to deliver constant communication, which in turn drives the need for low-latency and high-bandwidth performance. Rather than ripping up current infrastructure to add more fiber to meet this demand, vendors and providers are turning to higher speed, power-efficient and cost-effective optics that still meet latency and bandwidth demands with what’s already underground.

5G allows for an always-connected city, delivering scalable and reliable connectivity for data-intensive applications. For example, sensors can send real-time data to a central system that analyzes the data and optimizes the performance of the application. Optical technology improves this system even further, by delivering the cost effectiveness, small footprint, low power, ultra-low latency and performance demanded by 5G applications.

How are 5G technologies helping augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for industrial and operations-related education?

5G is helping to transform the way we interact with virtual worlds. The implementation of 5G increases the availability of both AR and VR by providing reliable connectivity, improving data streaming and reducing latency, and eliminating some of the hurdles preventing companies from embracing new technologies for learning. Optical technology plays a vital role in overcoming the challenges of adapting AR and VR, by maximizing current deployments and further improving connectivity so that anyone can have access, anywhere. By increasing bandwidth while decreasing power consumption and latency, we can equip fiber already in the ground to better handle current and future use cases, even in remote settings.

How is 5G-enhanced AR and VR helping demographic transitions? Can you give examples and quantify benefits?

5G-enhanced is a step toward 6G by enabling higher bandwidths, lower latency applications. The ability to evolve connectivity toward 6G opens an array of new use cases.
5G-enhanced AR and VR use cases have new demographic and regional possibilities. Some examples include virtual teaching, learning, which can overcome distances to assemble diverse people and talents. In other instances, AR and VR can connect medical professionals and patients in remote locations with telemedicine. The impact of these practical, yet historically challenging use cases is unmatched. 5G-enhanced AR and VR has the power to help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges and make this planet smarter.

Raza Khan is director of marketing – wireless, Semtech. Edited by David Miller, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology,


What new applications could you deploy if 5G was available in your facility?