Posted by Satoru Kumashiro, August 18, 2022
Addressing the Challenges of IIoT Device Connectivity with Wi-Fi HaLow
Nexcomm Systems designs cellular gateways and sensor hubs for Internet of Things (IoT) devices for industrial and outdoor applications as well as heavy vehicles and work trucks. The sensor hubs used in their devices include the most common sensor electrical interfaces so that just about any sensor can be connected without the need for special hardware or software development. Sensor data is sent to the cloud through a cellular link, and from there, the data can be stored and analyzed on Nexcomm’s cloud services or a customer’s cloud service as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. A diagram showing how communication works between IIoT sensors and the end devices where the data is consumed.
But using these types of devices in a heavy industrial environment presents several challenges for connectivity that are not present in many other markets. These challenges make it difficult to use more traditional wired connectivity solutions such as RS-485 and CAN bus, or more recently industrial Ethernet, and instead demand a wireless solution. But using a Wi-Fi solution comes with its own set of challenges as well, making it difficult to use traditional 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless technology. Instead, to be successful for IIoT devices, a wireless solution must tackle the following challenges:
- Providing longer signal range
- Overcoming issues with signal penetration
- Satisfying the need for higher data throughput
- Supporting increased security
- Handling spectrum restrictions present in some industrial facilities
- Offering easy setup and installation
To address these challenges, Nexcomm Systems added Silex Technology’s SX-NEWAH 802.11ah module – the industry’s first 802.11ah Wi-Fi solution for IoT devices – into several of its products. Compared with other LPWA technologies using the 900MHz band, Wi-Fi HaLow provides higher data throughput for secure connectivity of smart devices over long distances while using minimal power. By taking advantage of 802.11ah Wi-Fi technology with the Silex Technology SX-NEWAH module incorporated into its product design, Nexcomm Systems’ gateway/edge computing and cloud connectivity are well poised to enhance the IIoT world. Read the full case study to learn more.