Improving supply chain automation connectivity – Private 5G

by Nadeem Ahmad

21 September 2021

Robotic system in a warehouse

Supply chain automation robotics have proven to significantly reduce process times while simultaneously increasing profit margins. However, warehouse automation often must deal with wireless connectivity challenges.

Wirelessly communicating with autonomous mobile robots that move through warehouse stacks at up to 25 mph can be a challenge for any wireless network. That’s where NTT Private 5G comes in.

For these robotic systems to operate at peak performance, they require constant communication between mobile devices roaming the warehouse isles and the centralized orchestration platform that delivers operational instructions to the robots.

Common wireless connectivity challenges in this robotics manufacturer’s system included the ability of fast roaming between access points (APs), eliminating the spectrum interference, preventing inconsistent network latencies and removing unpredictable wireless coverage gaps.

Finding a cost-effective and reliable wireless connectivity technology platform is no easy task, especially when deployed in highly demanding environments such as warehouses. However, companies can look to our Private 5G solution to alleviate most of those challenges. Companies can reduce the number of access points significantly. In addition, the following performance and operational benefits can be realized:

  • major reduction in network latency for robot telemetry and remote-control traffic
  • significantly improved roaming times for robots as they move between APs
  • fewer dead spots or areas with poor signal strength
  • reduction in wireless network maintenance and adjustments

Our Private 5G solution operates in a centrally coordinated frequency spectrum model as opposed to unlicensed spectrum models where neighbour interference is inevitable. While warehouse robotics systems require relatively little bandwidth – they demand strict latency and jitter performance to achieve optimal performance. Our Private 5G platform can be used to quickly apply a strict quality of service (QoS) policy to the various robotics communications which guarantee that the appropriate network service levels for throughput, latency and packet error rate are met.

If process automation robotics are to be an integral part of a company’s supply chain business plan with the goal of two- to three-times in cost and performance efficiency gains, success starts and ends with the right wireless network to improve their digital operations.

5G is the fifth generation of cellular wireless technology and the new standard for mobile communications. It offers lower latency, higher data-transfer speed, higher reliability – and more capacity to carry a larger number of connections – than previous standards. For more information on ‘the what and why’ around 5G, please read our review of 5G networking technology.

Private 5G networking will be a true enabler for business growth as it was designed to address various use cases across verticals, all within the same network, using the respective enhancements of that network.

Our Private 5G solution’s innovative, industrial-grade wireless network connects your onsite and remote teams and devices from the edge to the cloud. Empower your employees with the speed, control, security and complete coverage needed to transform your customer, digital and employee experience. Find our more and contact an expert today.

Nadeem Ahmad

Nadeem Ahmad

Senior Vice President, Technology Strategy, NTT Ltd.