This is one of the most interesting times ever if you are a technologist (a.k.a. geek) or someone who benefits from the use of technology (a.k.a. almost everybody).

I am excited to discuss the underlying framework needed to deliver 5G NR in this blog, part 3 of my 5G NR blog series. The first blog, Super-fast IoT enabled 5G is right around the corner, or is it?, focused on how the industry is mobilizing to deliver 5G and the promise of 5G (sub 1ms latency). The next blog, What to Expect When You’re Expecting 5G NR Deployment: A New Network of Technologies Dependent on Micro Data, highlighted how data will need to be cached into local communities very close to the user in order to deliver sub 1ms latency.

History has shown that the world of traditional telco infrastructure was like an exclusive country club. Members talk in their own language. They don’t like to mix with the outside world. But times are changing.

IT and Telco Converge: When the Worlds Collide

man and woman looking at an iPad in a data centerThe worlds of IT and telco have been on a collision course and 5G NR may be the “coup de gras” of telco independence. In the IT world, cloud computing used to be a mystery. But now, I think, most people at least know about these giant, air-conditioned buildings packed with computers that store all of their pictures. Yes, even the pictures of the dinner they are about to eat and feel compelled to snap a picture of and share with their social network.

Those of us in the IT world understand the complex network of data centers that store these dinner photos while they also run our business applications in the cloud – like Google Docs or Salesforce. A simple way to think of this cloud computing for IT is an architecture of centralized cloud, regional edge, and local edge data centers. The closer the user is to the data center, generally the lower the latency.

5G NR is not only going to be the wireless front end of a converged network and data center architecture, the goal is to make the radio access network (RAN) of 5G NR more open and flexible, while supporting existing functions. Plus, have it massively scale to support the new functions and applications. The architecture will need to adapt from the current 4G base stations and Metro clouds to a 5G NR distributed cloud technology of macro core clouds, metro edge core clouds, and micro edge core clouds. All three versions of these core clouds will have network function orchestration and data cache – so telco and IT functions. Implementing a distributed core cloud technology will take network function virtualization (NFV) to make it possible for operators to optimize, manage, and maintain networks. NFV refers to the replacement of network functions on dedicated appliances, such as routers, load balancers, and firewalls, with virtualized instances running as software on commodity hardware in small cells (very close to the user). NFV is a key enabler of the coming 5G NR infrastructure, helping to virtualize all the various appliances in the network. In 5G, NFV will enable something new called network slicing. This will allow multiple virtual networks to be created on shared physical infrastructure and actually give priority to more critical applications.

Distributed Cloud Architecture for 5G NR

NFV is a key enabler of this new 5G NR distributed cloud, where compute, communication, and content delivery is handled by multiple data centers but appearing as a single source to the user in a world of accelerated data generation and high bandwidth content transmission. In 5G NR, NFV will be about more than merely moving functions to commodity hardware close to the user, it will be about enabling a distributed cloud computing environment that will be scalable, resilient, and fault-tolerant. This distributed cloud architecture will be virtualized in a new way called cloud based radio access networks (cRAN). cRAN moves processing from base stations at cell sites to a group of virtualized servers running in an edge data center. cRAN enables service providers to dynamically scale capacity and more easily deploy value-added mobile services at the network edge to improve the user experience.

But, where is the edge?

Many people are talking about a massive deployment of micro edge core clouds extremely close to the user as the initial step for 5G NR networks. While this would make sense technically and philosophically to deliver the sub 1ms latency promised, there is a very large technical hurdle involved in network traffic coordination and orchestration with NFV and cRAN. We will see hundreds of thousands of micro edge core clouds, but not right away. The first step of 5G NR will be adding cRAN data centers to LTE housed in metro edge core clouds (or regional data centers). In conjunction with this, we will see 5G NR MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) and millimeter wave antennas. This initial “rollout” will enable the use of these new “5G” phones, which are essentially very limited, 5G NR hot spot phones. These will deliver incremental improvements in network performance but only in select community areas configured with the metro edge core cloud, MIMO, and millimeter wave antennas.

Up Next. Building the Physical Infrastructure for 5G.

From a data center perspective, I believe significant buildouts will occur worldwide in metro core clouds in 2019 – 2020. While these will deliver performance improvements, it will not be sub 1ms latency because of their physical location. We will see sub 1ms latency when the massive metro edge core cloud rollout happens, most likely in 2021 and beyond. Be sure to refer back to my original blog that set the stage for this conversation around the industry mobilizing to deliver 5G.

The importance of electrical systems in modern times simply cannot be stated enough. These electrical systems helped ensure that this technology remains of the highest importance in today’s day-and-age. Without adequate safeguards to help maintain these latest technologies, it’s only a matter of time before the fragile nature of this technology ends up failing society in the long run.

Thus, there is a pressing need to provide the population with an optimal electrical system, which can be set in place to ensure a higher level of safety in these industries and homes. By doing this, these electrical systems can actually be utilised to a T, without having to worry about the ramifications that may arise over time. It also helps in promoting a universal sense of safety, since the chance of any electrical malfunctions can be mitigated extensively, if not negated entirely.

After all, if the power distribution management system isn’t safeguarded, then the circulation of electricity across a neighbourhood will be hampered extensively. After all, it’s an implied need that doesn’t need to be mentioned constantly in modern times, and the reason for this is quite obvious – without the application of electrical energy, the functionality of households will be negatively affected like how. This is because most electrical appliances provide individuals with important services to go about with their day-to-day lives, making this provision of power a mandate as of right now.

This makes it the need of the hour for electrical power systems to be innovated on a constant basis to avoid any hurdles that might arise related to power management and distribution can be negated considerably. There are numerous smart electrical components and technologies will help you accomplish this goal with relative ease, but the product in question that we’re elaborating on is something we all know all too well – MCBs.

It is one of the most universal forms of equipment out there that will help propagate the notion of electrical security across the board. The functionality of a miniature circuit breaker simply cannot be ignored in today’s day-and-age – in the event of a critical electrical malfunction, the MCB’s limit switches trips the circuit to break the connection and prevent any harm to these electrical appliances. This switch is designed specifically to protect an electrical circuit from damage that might be caused by the flow of excess current from an overload or short circuit.

Thus, MCBs help promote and cement the notion of optimal electrical safety, while also seeing to it that any and all problems that might arise as a result of an electrical problem can be negated to a substantial extent.

U.S. energy forecasting agency projects that, despite gains in energy efficiency, global population growth and other drivers will cause energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to keep rising. Many experts are also forecasting that aging power grids and greater occurrences of extreme weather events will continue to put reliability at risk.

But the future is not all doom and gloom. Many organizations are now exploring and enacting plans to improve grid resilience, including decentralizing energy generation with microgrids, using smart grid technologies, and incorporating more renewables. At the same time, emerging and converging technologies are giving facility teams the tools they need to take more control of the reliability, efficiency, and safety of their power supply.

Power distribution systems have become smarter, giving buildings and manufacturing facilities a holistic approach to optimizing onsite energy production and consumption, responding to risks faster, meeting sustainability goals, complying with regulations, and keeping people and property safe from cyber attacks. So, how do they help you do this? With new levels of embedded intelligence, connectivity, and analytics.

Smart power starts with smart devices
The ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ is gradually permeating every aspect of our lives, including the power infrastructure of our buildings. Smart energy and power quality meters, protection relays, and circuit breakers are helping facility and services teams to see deep within the electrical system. You can now pinpoint more sources of wasted energy and money, while being alerted to more types of risks before they can cause downtime or damage. Device networks are also designed to adapt as your needs grow.

Connecting to every opportunity
For fast decisions and fast response, it’s critical to get the data you need when you need it. Within the power infrastructure, IoT-enabled devices offer many networking options, including wireless, Ethernet, and embedded web servers. This connectivity helps you supervise and optimize all of your important energy assets.

Aggregating data to cloud-based apps gives operations teams the access they need to make smarter decisions about energy use, while maintenance teams keep on top of equipment reliability and service needs using mobile-accessible logbooks.

To protect this new level of connectivity against cyberattacks, many manufacturers are now focusing on cybersecurity training, code best practices, and more extensive testing.

Making sense of everything
Rather than be overwhelmed by the ‘big data’ created by all these connected devices, the newest analytic apps convert data into actionable insights, tailoring for each team. Dashboards and reports help you compare performance, set baselines, track progress of initiatives, validate savings, and calculate your carbon footprint.

These new tools allow you optimize energy use without compromising reliability. Predict energy needs and simplify participation in demand response while optimizing the use of onsite renewable. Improve uptime while reducing maintenance costs using strategies like predictive  maintenance. And use the cloud as a conduit to expert managed services.

Archer Daniels Midland Company is one of the largest agricultural processors in the world producing food ingredients, animal feed ingredients, renewable fuels and naturally derived alternatives to industrial chemicals. Founded in 1902, ADM operates more than 250 processing and manufacturing facilities across the United States and worldwide. In 1971 ADM acquired Corn Sweeteners, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and in 1981 the Cedar Rapids facility was expanded to produce ethanol.

Slipstream measurement not enough

Managing pH in high-temperature chemical applications is critical for consistent product quality, efficient process reaction, and compliance in environmental regulations. But because accurate measurement requires immersing pH sensors in hot, strongly acidic substances for extended time periods, companies have traditionally had to replace them every few days. ADM Cedar Rapids, needed a pH sensor that they can use for months without replacing, thus significantly reducing equipment and labor costs, while maintaining high process quality standards.

“We tried taking pH readings directly from the process, but the 235°F temperature ate sensors up,” says Lloyd Feickert, instrumentation supervisor at the ADM Cedar Rapids facility. “To reduce excessive sensor costs we set up a slipstream arrangement, whereby we run a sample of the ethanol offline to cool it down to 140°F, and measure that,” says Feickert.

While the slipstream arrangement significantly extended pH sensor service life, inherent process conditions still caused frequent replacement of components in the rebuildable pH sensors. “At the lower temperatures, pH sensors could last for weeks, but process conditions caused temperature fluctuations within the slipstreams. Since we had standardized on the Foxboro 871 rebuildable pH sensors, we once again turned to them for a solution,” says Feickert.

Finding the right sensors

Since rebuildable sensors are the most cost-effective way to measure pH for their applications, ADM needed sensors that could withstand the high temperatures, be easily replaceable and last months, not days. Finding the right high-quality sensors could help cut costs, time and labor while giving them much more consistent and accurate measuring capabilities.

Increasing sensor service lifespan

“I heard about the DolpHin line of high-temperature pH sensors and asked Foxboro if they could develop a similar product for rebuildable sensors. The folks at Foxboro studied my application and came back with a replaceable electrode that, after a

Archer Daniels Midland Foxboro pH Senors

cooperative testing period, increased our sensor service life from days to months,” says Feickert.

The newly developed measuring electrode features a unique pH glass formulation that provides superior measurement stability, accuracy and longer service in high-temperature applications. This pH glass also increases response speed up to five times. The electrodes are available in domed, spherical, or ruggedized flat glass. The domed glass electrode is for the harshest applications: temperatures up to 250°F and extremes of chemical concentrations. 

The right tools for the job

In addition to the product cost savings, ADM has significantly reduced labor and maintenance costs. “Every time you send a person out to work on a sensor, it’s at least an hour’s worth of labor. I estimate that we have reduced time spent on changing electrodes over the course of a year from 36 hours per electrode to three hours per electrode,” says Feickert.

In addition, they have improved the stability and performance of their pH sensing, heightened worker safety and lowered inventory and supply. “We have standardized on the Foxboro 871 line and now, with the addition of the high-temperature domed electrode, we have all the tools to cost-effectively handle pH sensing throughout our plant,” Feickert added.

To learn more on how Archer Daniels Midland found the right tools to improve performance, access the full case study.