The project is designed to study innovative solutions for integrating data connectivity in industrial production plants, focusing on the use of 5G technology.
The idea is to use the 5G network as a privileged infrastructural option both by equipping existing machines and lines with appropriate gateways and by creating stand-alone systems to be placed alongside machines or lines when necessary. The project intends to leverage the experimentation of new use cases on the innovative architecture of the 5G network and in particular the possibility of using:
the same physical infrastructure to implement services with even very different requirements by cutting out network “slices” with ad hoc characteristics;
manage in a flexible and dynamical manner the computational capacity and applications within the network, positioning them where most appropriate to meet performance and functionality requirements (edge computing).
On this basis, the project intends to produce results that serve as a reference for future applications of the 5G network to the vertical context of data interconnection in manufacturing plants, demonstrating the potential and possibly identifying the limits of this technology, through a series of service trials at support of use cases identified by “end user” companies.
This project considers innovative 5G technology as a factor for the solution of infrastructural, syntactic and semantic integration problems, aiming to leverage the fact that a first 5G infrastructure will be deployed in Bi-Rex alongside the pilot line.
The 5G network is the evolution of current 4G networks as regards radio transmission technologies but, as universally recognized by all experts in the sector, it goes much further, proposing a real transformation of the data transport architecture, to aim to incorporate the technologies of computational virtualization and the related application paradigms of cloud computing, now widely consolidated in the IT services market.
The 5G network intends to meet the demands of industrial and private networks, in particular those deriving from very vertical applications and which include heterogeneous technologies. For this purpose the concept of “network slicing” has been defined.
Within the slice it is also possible to adopt a new architectural paradigm: edge computing. Briefly, it can be understood as the flexible and dynamic management of the computational capacity that is brought closer to where the traffic is generated, i.e. at the edge of the network, without wanting to replace the Cloud, but expanding its possibility of use in more delicate contexts such as industrial scenarios. The Edge Cloud, in the form of MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing), supports new low-latency services and makes it possible to process large-scale amounts of data at the edge of the network without the need to transport them to a centralized node .