Orchestrating 5G Network Slices to Support Industrial Internet and to Shape Next-Generation Smart Factories
Industry 4.0 aims at shaking the current manufacturing landscape by leveraging the adoption of smart industrial equipment with increased connectivity, sensing, and actuation capabilities. By exploring access to real-time production information and advanced remote control features, servitization of manufacturing firms promise novel added value services for industrial operators and customers. On the other hand, industrial networks would face a transformation process in order to support the flexibility expected by the next-generation manufacturing processes and enable inter-factory cooperation. In this scenario, 5G systems can play a key role in enabling Industry 4.0 by extending the network slicing paradigm to specifically support the requirements of industrial use cases over heterogeneous domains. We present a novel 5G-based network slicing framework that aims at accommodating the requirements of Industry 4.0. To interconnect different industrial sites up to the extreme edge, different slices of logical resources can be instantiated on-demand to provide the required end-to-end connectivity and processing features. We validate our proposed framework in three realistic use cases that enabled us to highlight the envisioned benefits for industrial stakeholders.