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Qualcomm and Bosch Rexroth target industrial device market for 5G tech

Collaborating companies successfully demonstrate industrial devices utilising time-sensitive networking technology while operating over a live 5G network

Qualcomm Technologies and Bosch Rexroth have revealed the fruits of their work to make 5G-enabled industrial manufacturing a reality. They say they are targeting a 5G industry segment that could generate $4.7tn in related sales enablement by 2035 – as much as 36% of the $13.2tn opportunity of 5G.

Qualcomm and Bosch Rexroth have been collaborating on research into 5G applications for industrial settings, and say they have successfully demonstrated industrial devices utilising time-sensitive networking (TSN) technology while operating over a live 5G network. 

The technology is designed to enable users to view two industrial devices operating in a time-synchronised manner over a wireless connection – showing that the combination of TSN and 5G can enable precise synchronisation without needing a wired connection.

At the heart of the combined offering is Bosch Rexroth’s ctrlX Automation system, and in the demonstration, two ctrlX CORE controls interacted with each other in real time over a 5G test network using a Qualcomm 5G industrial test device.  

The new ctrlX Automation platform will allow industrial machine manufacturers to choose between real-time wired industrial Ethernet or real-time 5G wireless communication, according to their needs – without having to change the machine application. The network operates in the 3.7-3.8GHz spectrum band, which has been earmarked for regional and local networks in Germany.

“Time-sensitive networking is a fundamental enabling technology for industrial automation, and having the capability to run TSN over wireless 5G networks will allow for greater flexibility on the factory floor,” said Yongbin Wei, vice-president, engineering at Qualcomm Technologies. “We are proud to continue our longstanding collaboration with Bosch Rexroth, and we are looking forward to demonstrating the full capabilities of 5G TSN.”

The new joint proof-of-concept is a precursor to the upcoming 5G capability to support TSN natively. This feature is expected to become available in the next release of the 5G specifications – 3GPP Release 16 – scheduled to be finalised in the first half of 2020.

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