ngena will be the global network for Industry 4.0

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  • Companies can control industrial equipment across continents
  • Global network grows to more than ten members, covering more of the world
  • New members announced at MWC

Deutsche Telekom wants to simplify corporate international telecommunications and the control of industrial equipment around the globe. Machinery and robots are already intelligently networked at companies. Procurement and logistics, sales and service – companies' entire value chains are digital. At Industry 4.0 companies, manufacturing and logistics organize themselves in smart factories, without human control. German industry plans to invest 40 billion euros in Industry 4.0 by 2020, according to a study by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

A prerequisite for this is software-defined networks (SDN), like the ones Deutsche Telekom offers to corporate customers with the ngena global network. The network, introduced at last year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by the founding companies Deutsche Telekom, CenturyLink, Reliance Jio, SK Telecom and technology partner Cisco now covers major portions of the globe, spanning North and South America, and large parts of Europe and several Asian regions. 

Marcus Hacke

Marcus Hacke

More than ten members have now joined the first Star Alliance for company networks, including Altice with SFR & Portugal Telecom, Inmarsat, Neutrona, PCCW Global, and Telstra. Managing Director Marcus Hacke: "The ngena global network has become more tightly meshed and will gain powerful hubs this year with which we can supply our customers with network services. The Frankfurt hub is already available; there will be up to ten by the end of the year, with the next ones coming in the U.S., South Korea and China."

Patrick Molck-Ude

Patrick Molck-Ude

Patrick Molck-Ude, who is responsible for network business for Deutsche Telekom’s corporate customers, says: "With ngena, we have struck a nerve among our multinational customers. Network services that are quickly deployable, secure, powerful and global are the engine for the industrial production of the future and a growth area for Deutsche Telekom. The market for network access and transport services is already worth 50 billion dollars and is increasing by 3.5 percent annually."

Background: Software-defined networks and industry 4.0

In the Industry 4.0 world, machines, individual parts and other objects are equipped with sensors. These sensors collect data that helps control a product's route through the production equipment and the individual manufacturing steps. At the same time, more transmitting sensors also means more data traffic, greater realtime requirements (latency) and increased bandwidth demands. This is in addition to potentially connected ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems with thousands of users, big data analytics and cloud services that access the network.

The providers' historically evolved networks are already having trouble keeping pace with these new requirements. One reason for this: some network resources are still allocated manually. This is slow and expensive – it can take days, weeks or even months before a reliable line is available for mission-critical use. No administrator will be able to keep up with future data flows. Software-defined networks (SDN) automate the configuration of individual systems by shifting the administration work to a central management console. This makes SDNs the foundation for a new generation of industrial production networks such as ngena's. The same applies to the development of industrial networks based on the upcoming 5G standard, which is only just beginning.

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