Ericsson intros ‘time-critical’ 5G-URLLC software enhancements for Industry 4.0
Ericsson has launched a new “software toolbox” to “guarantee” consistently low latency and high reliability in 5G networks for time-critical applications. Its new Time-Critical Communication product, available via a new Critical IoT product, is targeted at enterprises and consumers, variously for cloud gaming, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), remote control, mobility automation, and industrial control. It can be deployed as a software upgrade on public and private 5G networks, in any frequency band, it said.
The product is designed to resolve lags and interruptions in mobile networks. Ericsson said it combines the 3GPP-specified ultra-reliable, low latency communication (URLLC) standard with the company’s own innovations to mitigate major causes of latency. “The new solution is designed to address that need and deliver on the full promise of 5G… It delivers consistent low latency (50ms to 1ms) end to-end at specified guarantee levels (99.9 percent to 99.999 percent) – enabling time-critical use cases at scale,” said Ericsson.
It added: “Many emerging use cases are time-critical in nature, demanding the guarantee of consistent low latency and highly reliable performance [that is] currently not possible in today’s 4G and 5G networks.”
Ericsson has been piloting 5G for time-critical use cases with various network customers and enterprise users, including BT and Hyperbat, Telia and Einride, as well as ABB, Audi, Boliden, Deutsche Telekom, Fraunhofer IPT, and Rockwell Automation. It has just completed work with Deutsche Telekom and Telstra to show how ‘low-latency low-loss scalable’ (L4S) throughput technology reduces lag in interactive cloud-based video games.
L4S features in the Time-Critical Communication toolbox. Ericsson has also claimed a new milestone with MediaTek by “proving” that 5G can deliver 1ms consistent low latency with 99.99 percent reliability in both uplink and downlink on mmWave band. Most of the talk in the press release is about extended reality (XR) use cases for consumers, pandering to mobile operators’ hopes to supply lag-free 5G gaming to 2.5 billion mobile gamers in the world.
But the URLLC-angle, and the availability with private network setups, will also appeal to industrial users, considering 5G as an alternative or complement to Wi-Fi to animate critical machines and processes.
Per Narvinger, head of product area networks at Ericsson, said: “Ericsson continues to introduce innovative 5G solutions that fuel the global uptake of 5G. Now we are taking 5G to the next level with Time-Critical Communication, a solution that will give our customers the tools to expand their offerings for the consumer, enterprise, and public sectors and further monetize 5G effectively.”
Most of the customer quotes that went with the release put focus on Industry 4.0 applications.
Tomohiro Sekiwa, managing executive and chief network officer at SoftBank, said: “We believe that Time-Critical Communication is key to realizing the full potential of 5G. One industry where this solution can play a transformative role is automotive and transportation. With reliable and consistent low latency connectivity, 5G can also vastly improve public health and safety, traffic efficiency, and make transportation more sustainable.”
JS Pan, general manager for wireless communication systems and partnerships at MediaTek, said: “Together with Ericsson we have shown what 5G can deliver in terms of consistent low latency and high reliability in both uplink and downlink. This key milestone proves that 5G can enable the most demanding, time-critical applications such as real-time control of industrial automation systems.”
Dave Vasko, director of advanced technology at Rockwell Automation, said: “Time-Critical Communication with 5G can change the industrial automation sector by reducing cables, increasing flexibility and agility, enhancing visibility, and enabling new digital applications with mobility. The ability to deliver consistent low latency with high reliability will be crucial for wirelessly connecting XR, sensors, controllers, and actuators – boosting productivity and efficiency of industrial operations.”