Qualcomm and Bosch Rexroth showcase the rise of real-time 5G machines

A new demo from Qualcomm and Bosch Rexroth has showcased how Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) can operate over a 5G network.
(Image credit: Bosch Rexroth)

In a world first, a joint demo between Qualcomm and Bosch Rexroth enabled visitors to view two industrial devices operating in a time-synchronized manner over a wireless 5G connection – illustrating how Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) and 5G can enable precise synchronization without the need for a wired connection. This will provide far more flexibility on factory floors around the globe.

And in the recent IHS “The 5G Economy” report, researchers revealed that IIoT will drive up to $4.7 trillion in 5G-related sales by 2035, representing 36% of the overall $13.2 trillion opportunity of 5G.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) often requires accurate time synchronization to be able to operate effectively. (Just imagine a broad array of devices working on a single project, and you can see why a single timestamp – sometimes down to the picosecond-level – is vital.)

What is TSN?

Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) is a set of standards developed by the Time-Sensitive Networking task group of the IEEE 802.1 working group. And with different operational layers, sitting on different networks, establishing a single timestamp, which can be universally applied, is no small undertaking – especially once you move outside an Ethernet.

For this showcase Bosch Rexroth presented its new ctrlX AUTOMATION solution, in which two ctrlX CORE controls interact with each other in real-time over a 5G test network, utilizing a Qualcomm 5G industrial test device. The test network operated in the 3.7-3.8 GHz spectrum band – earmarked for regional and local networks in Germany.

Two ctrlX CORE controls interact with each other in real-time over a 5G test network

Two ctrlX CORE controls interact with each other in real-time over a 5G test network. (Image credit: Bosch Rexroth)

The capabilities of 5G and TSN 

“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, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are proud to continue our long-standing collaboration with Bosch Rexroth, and we are looking forward to demonstrating the full capabilities of 5G TSN as part of Release 16 next year.”

These features are expected to be part of the next 5G specifications – 3GPP Release 16 – scheduled to be finalised in the first half of 2020.

Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.