Wireless Protocols and Industrial Settings

Industry 4.0 has released more intelligent machines and more efficient and flexible automated facilities. They are characterized by adaptable and secure connectivity, machinery-condition monitoring, data collection, and continuously adjusting production-process values. These functions are supported by wireless technologies based on the following standards and protocols.

1. IEEE 802.15.4 wireless standards

These technologies favor low power and low cost over range and speed. It is a great option since it connects low-cost devices even without additional infrastructure. Protocols based on this are quickly becoming a favorite.

2. WiFi-based standards

The present Wi-Fi standard uses more Wi-Fi alliance standardization for greater compatibility with many devices. Wi-Fi is helpful for application monitoring and machine-to-enterprise systems connectivity. However, its connection stability, latency, and speed limit certain applications. Attempts to adapt it for industrial control have seen limited success with the exception of the Chinese WIA-PA.

3. Bluetooth LE

Bluetooth Low Energy is a low-cost and low-power alternative to IEE 802.15.4 that still offers comparable range and speed. It uses 2.4GHz frequency and receives native support from mobile operating systems. There has been a trend of locks, remote controls, sensors, and handheld devices relying on BLE to automate tasks. This will likely continue in the future.

4. Cellular IoT

Cellular IoT supports long-range wireless communications and high data-transfer rates, unlike BLE and IEEE 802.15.4. However, 3G and 4G protocols need significant power, so the system needs a permanent connection to a wired power supply. Industrial 5G use is still in its infancy stage as IIoT engineers require ubiquitous coverage and low latency.

5. LoRA

This is a low-cost wireless protocol ideal for offshore and remote applications in mining, logistics, and renewable energy. The low-power wireless technology is capable of communicating over long ranges on a single battery. It has 128-bit encryption, authentication protocols, and geolocation.

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