Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to using network-connected devices and applications to automate, optimize, and manage industrial processes, including predictive maintenance. IIoT is used in manufacturing, transportation, smart cities and utility management. The goals of IIoT are to reduce costs in production, improve operational efficiency, ensure faster processes, and enable the implementation of new business models. For IIoT, both Wi-Fi and Distributed Antenna systems are currently used for Machine to Machine and network communications. In-building connectivity in warehouses, manufacturing plants and logistics operations centers is critical to delivering the benefits of 5G to Industry 4.0’s industrial applications.
Industrial IoT has its own challenges. Among them are scalability, cyber security, and cost of deployment and expansion. For an industrial IoT system to be fully scalable, it is important to ensure that the performance does not degrade (or degrades slightly) when the number of users or machines grow significantly. Also, the performance of the system should not be degraded when its components are spread over a larger geographic area. Cyber security introduces another major challenge for Industrial IoT. Because the Access Points (APs) in Industrial IoT are spread over a large geographic area — and wireless signal travels between these APs for a larger distance — it makes it vulnerable to hacking. For the wireless signal to reach a larger distance, the signal power may need to be increased to address potential service degradations. The power increase makes the wireless signal even more visible to potential hackers. Finally, as an Industrial IoT system grows, the cost of deploying additional connectivity systems (Wi-Fi or DAS) needs to be low to justify new investments.
PHYTunes 5G and Wi-Fi solutions provide considerable value propositions for IIoT, with solutions to overcome some of its challenges. PHYTunes technology allows wireless signals to use building wires (Coax, Ethernet and Fiber) to travel the majority of the distance from router to AP node, providing signal containment and lowering hacking and security risks. Without a need for a high-power signal to reach industrial stations, PHYTunes Atlas delivers wireless signal at a very low power, thus eliminating potential interference and detection by hackers. Because there is no inter-nodal routing involved, Atlas and Triton RF tuners are simple access points that are easy to install and scale up. This innovative PHYTunes technology deployment strategy — along with using building wires — allows deployment for a smaller number of Atlas nodes to provide necessary IoT coverage, hence reducing the deployment costs significantly. In a nutshell, using PHYTunes 5G and Wi-Fi products provides a low cost, low latency and highly scalable Wireless LAN solution for Industrial IoT.