eSix: Transforming the Port Industry with Seamless 5G Edges

Article By : eSix Ltd

eSix helped Tianjin Port and Yantian Port to transform themselves into smart ports through digitization and automation.

5G development and deployment are accelerating, especially in Asia. Field trials are underway, components are coming, and testing covers the spectrum in more ways than one. What are the challenges and how is the ecosystem shaping up? Find out more in this month’s In Focus series.

Under the backdrop of Internet Plus and Industry 4.0, eSix Ltd helps Tianjin Port and Yantian Port to transform themselves into smart ports through digitization and automation.

eSix’s edgeWares solution is upgrading the industrial applications by transforming industrial ethernet into wireless using the 5G network, enabling the remote control of quay cranes, self-driving trucks and video surveillance in Smart Port.

Enable 5G Industrial applications in the Smart Port with edgeWares

There are various application scenarios of edgeWares in the Smart Port. For instance, edgeWares can empower the 5G Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMMB) feature in video surveillance. Moreover, by combining edgeWares and Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMMB) and Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC) features of 5G, industrial applications like autopilot AGV and remote control of quay cranes can be enabled.

Challenges in Wireless Transformation of Smart Port

The port industry is facing different challenges with regards to the wireless transformation of industrial ethernet, noted as follow:

  1. Industrial ethernet is designed for fixed line applications. Conventional network protocol cannot meet the critical requirements of industrial applications, including millisecond-level end-to-end latency, high stability and reliability.
  2. Industrial devices deployment has a high opportunity cost. Creating a fixed line connection between control center and industrial PLC is not only time consuming but also expensive for construction and maintenance.
  3. Since the machinery is constantly being relocated throughout the working period, this may lead to the abrasion of optical fibres. Moreover, it is also very difficult to identify the disconnected point in it.

The edgeWares Solution by eSix

eSix provides a solution to solve the problems noted above: edgeWares. This solution utilizes different technologies, such as virtual circuits, customized network protocol and SDN,  which enable extreme low latency E2E industrial protocol communication over 5G network with milisecond graded failover capability.

In addition, because of the IP fixation feature of edgeWares, the control center can directly access industrial PLCs, even when the IP addresses of the 5G network are randomly assigned by the ISP.

edgeWares possess zero touch provisioning feature. It can be deployed easily in a very short period of time, while not changing the existing topologies of the network. It reduces the opportunity cost of the 5G wireless transformation to a large extent.

5G network: Video surveillance

IP addresses in the 5G network are leased randomly by the ISP. In order to access the video camera, its IP address should be known by the control side. In addition, if a virtual tunnel is not established between the control side and IP camera, the IP cameras with private IP address behind the 5G CPE will not be visible after NAT. By using the edgeWares to construct a virtual tunnel to combine control side and client side’s network, the IP cameras can become accessible respectively using their private IP address.

Some virtual tunnel’ packets are larger than 1500 bytes, however, the MTU of 4G and 5G networks are less than 1500 bytes, preventing the data from being transmitted. edgeWares’ virtual tunnel function ignores the size of MTU and allows IP cameras to perform data transmission to the control side seamlessly.

The bidirectional address hiding function of edgeWares allows the control center to access the IP cameras through the IP address without disclosing the IP address to the public.

5G Network: Unmanned Truck

Through edgeWares’s layer 2 virtual tunnel, unmanned trucks’ cameras and PLC are accessible in the control center in a 5G private network. The control center can stop the autopilot-trucks in real time as a safety precaution. It solves the problem that multiple VLANs cannot be divided and multiple devices are not accessible under a single 5G network.

Through the adaptive QoS function, edgeWares prioritize the data transmission of the PLC control protocol within the virtual tunnel. By this means, it can ensure the real time response of the unmanned trunk.

5G Network: Remote Control of Quay Cranes

Most Industrial PLC runs Industrial Protocol like Profinet, which is in layer 2. However, the 5G network is in layer 3. Therefore, most of the industrial ethernet traffic can not be transmitted directly through the 5G network because layer 2’s traffic is forbidden by layer 3. edgeWares enable the use of the 5G network for the transparent transmission of industrial ethernet protocol.

Network connection of PLC devices requires critical reliability. The PLC devices will stop once the “PLC heartbeat” is not received. edgewares have a millisecond graded virtual tunnel failover, therefore, it can achieve seamless switching between wired and wireless networks without losing a “PLC heartbeat” packet.

edgeWares support constructing backup tunnels with multiple mediums, enabling the PLC devices to failover between transmission mediums. e.g. 5G, 4G, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi.

Latency of edgeWares solution

Compared to other similar products, edgeWares have an extremely small processing and queueing delay.

Network delay = Transmission delay + Propagation delay + Processing delay +   Queueing delay

By connecting industrial PLCs with edgeWares, it is similar to wiring them up with an invisible cable over the air. It can perform millisecond graded failover, millisecond graded network recovery while fulfilling the extreme low latency requirement of HD video transmission, remote control in the industrial environment. Providing  real-time response and seamless video transmission for mission critical applications.


About eSix 

eSix Ltd is an edge technology company that provides a high-speed network for industries, enterprises, and internet service providers. It was founded in 2017 by a team of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, data scientists, network engineers, etc., that aim to remove the barriers of global networks. They strive to connect everything, everyone in everywhere effortlessly with their cutting edge networking technologies, assuring an effective and easy-to-deploy solution for their users. For more information, click here.


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