The Future: 5G And Consequences For Factory Connections

Fall 2021

5G will transform the operation of manufacturing LANs and create greater opportunities for analytics in the smart factory. Initially, 5G will make it possible to “untether” machines from their wired connections, making it easier to rearchitect the factory floor rapidly. One PC board plant can change the products it produces over 300 times a day. In addition, the fast, 5G connections between the factory floor and analytics placed at the Edge permit firms to evaluate complex manufacturing processes quickly due to 5G’s very low latency. For electric batteries, Ford is using a 5G network slice to send 1000s of readings from smart welding devices to a nearby Edge for analysis in microseconds. This session will explore some of the other impacts of 5G on the factory, including how companies are moving ahead, what benefits they hope to achieve, and how the 5G efforts will change as 6G becomes available.


Dr. Douglas E. Comer is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University. Formerly, he served as VP of Research at Cisco Systems. As a member of the original IAB, he participated in early work on the Internet, and is internationally recognized as an authority on TCP/IP protocols and Internet technologies.

Dr. Comer has written a series of best-selling technical books on Computer Networks, Internets, Operating Systems, and Computer Architecture. His 3-volume Internetworking series is cited as an authoritative work on Internet protocols and technologies. Dr. Comer’s books have been translated into 16 languages, and are used in industry and academia in many countries.

Dr. Comer consults for industry, and has lectured to thousands of professional engineers and students around the world. For twenty years he was editor-in-chief of the journal Software – Practice and Experience. He is a Fellow of the ACM and the recipient of numerous teaching awards.

Robert Cohen is a consultant working on the future of the telecommunications industry with boutique consulting firm, Deep Futures. He has also been economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute where he  directed a study of the impact of cloud computing, machine learning, AI, smart factories and 5G on the U.S. economy. He developed New York State’s first technology strategy and chaired the state’s High Technology Council. With two co-founders, Bill Schrader and Richard Mandelbaum, he created NYSERNet, New York’s part of the U.S. Internet. 

Dr. Cohen has been Associate Professor of International Business and Finance at New York University’s Stern Business School, Associate Professor of Finance and Economics at York College of the City University of New York, and Senior International Economist at the Futures Group. Dr. Cohen served as executive director for the TM Forum’s Enterprise Cloud Leadership Council. He is a past president of the Forecasters Club of New York. 

He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research and a B.A. from Swarthmore College. He is an author, co-author, or editor of four books, including: Changing the Face of the Internet. Virtual Worlds and the Information Economy; Nontariff Barriers to High-Technology Trade; The Multinational Corporation: A Radical Approach – Papers of Stephen H. Hymer; and The New North American Order.

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