August 31, 2023

5G System Configuration Research For Industrial Building Application

The goal of this project was to objectively determine an optimal configuration of 5G for industrial buildings — specifically for industrial internet of things (IIoT) and digital applications — and to make this information publicly available for broad use including by the Department of Defense (DoD).


When talking about technology, 5G is often used in a singular context. However, “5G” covers several types of architectures and other variables. These include variations in spectrum, hardware, software, and physical location of assets. When taken holistically, there are dozens of 5G configurations that provide advantages and disadvantages depending on the use case. These configurations determine cost, complexity, availability, risk, and performance.

Most 5G literature and marketing materials target consumer use applications and are skewed toward service providers, adding to ambiguity.

One barrier to the adoption of 5G wireless technology in manufacturing is the confusion caused by the lack of industry-specific information.

Proposed Solution

The main deliverable from the team led by Mississippi State University was a report summarizing methodology, analysis, and recommendations for 5G architecture and configurations in industrial buildings. That included current technology and up-and-coming open radio access network (O-RAN) and NextG technologies.

The goal was a report that could be used as a guideline for manufacturers to begin implementing 5G today and provide detailed considerations of technologies of the future.


Recommendations for industrial building applications make it easier for manufacturers to understand how they can take advantage of 5G and either begin or continue their essential digital transformation journey.


The project was completed in August 2023 and the outcome was a 56-page report titled “5G Landscape for Industrial IoT.” It focused on several aspects of 5G and other wireless applications in an industrial setting including:

  • Available 5G architecture and configurations given current specifications, equipment availability, spectrum availability, and legal requirements.
  • A detailed analysis of the costs, performance, and features of the available 5G architectures and configurations.
  • Investigation and discussion of the status of O-RAN specifications, advantages and disadvantages, and recommendations for industrial systems.
  • Requirements of industrial building communications and connectivity, especially in a manufacturing setting, for small, medium, and large enterprises.
  • Recommendations of best-fitting 5G architecture and configuration for industrial settings based on desired requirements and available configurations.
  • NextG, including 6G and 7G, future availability and the impact on cost and performance of such technologies to manufacturers.
  • Cybersecurity design and implementation considerations that may affect 5G network communications for small, medium, and large manufacturing settings.