Accelerating Manufacturing Digital Transformation

IIoT Wireless Options Abound, See What’s New


While there are several tried-and-true wireless options that have served the manufacturing industry for years, attention is starting to shift to private cellular, based on 4G LTE and 5G technologies, due to its performance and low latency.

Most modern manufacturing organizations strive to increase operational efficiency, improve production output and quality, and more by analyzing data from factory floors and deriving actionable insights from that data. As more devices, sensors, and systems are added to the mix, there is an increased focus on the underlying wireless connectivity technologies that enable the collection and sharing of that data. Fortunately, organizations now have more wireless choices.

Some of the core offerings that have served the industry well for years include Wi-Fi, private LoRaWAN, and DECT-2020 NR. More recently, there has been growing interest in private cellular options based on 4G LTE and 5G technologies. According to a recent report from ABI Research, manufacturing will have the most private cellular IoT connections in the future, with 108 connections predicted by 2030.  

That represents very rapid adoption. Why? “The ideal private network connectivity technology for any IoT use case will largely depend on its criticality,” said Lizzie Stokes, IoT Networks & Services Analyst at ABI Research, in a prepared statement. “However, all important IoT verticals—from healthcare to manufacturing—will experience healthy growth in private cellular IoT connections from 2025 to 2030, underscoring this relatively new technology’s influence even in applications that heavily rely on non-cellular technologies.”

Specifically, Stokes noted that “mission-critical use cases require ultra-reliable connectivity. Any interruption in these operations could lead to significant revenue loss or threaten human life. Given these consequences, most mission-critical IIoT customers upgrading to wireless connectivity will choose a private cellular network.”

The technology is especially being considered in areas where there is heavy machine automation. In such applications, which are commonly found in modern manufacturing plants, the wireless network must offer high performance and low latency. Those characteristics are basically the strengths of current private 5G networks.

See also: Five Ways 5G is Transforming the Manufacturing Landscape

A final word on IIoT wireless options

As manufacturers modernize and increasingly automate operations, the analysis of operational data from equipment and production lines becomes essential. The applications that use the insights derived from that data can only work if there is a wireless infrastructure in place.

While there are several tried-and-true options that have served the industry for years, attention is starting to shift to private cellular based on 4G and 5G technologies, due to its performance and low latency.

Additional reading: Private 5G Networks Set to Disrupt Every Industry

Salvatore Salamone

About Salvatore Salamone

Salvatore Salamone is a physicist by training who has been writing about science and information technology for more than 30 years. During that time, he has been a senior or executive editor at many industry-leading publications including High Technology, Network World, Byte Magazine, Data Communications, LAN Times, InternetWeek, Bio-IT World, and Lightwave, The Journal of Fiber Optics. He also is the author of three business technology books.

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