Realizing the Full Potential of IoT with Private Wireless Networks

Cristine Kimbrel, Sr. Product Manager

The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized industries and manufacturing, fundamentally altering global business practices. Despite the widespread deployment of hundreds of thousands of IoT devices in facilities worldwide, certain businesses have not experienced the anticipated benefits of this digital transformation as rapidly as expected.

The benefits of IoT implementation, including enhanced efficiency, streamlined interactions between back-office processes and critical services and applications, and improved overall operations, were expected to simplify business processes. Indeed, connected infrastructure and the smart technology it enables have already made a substantial impact in meeting the demands of modern manufacturing. However, this transformation has been relatively gradual until recently.

Enabling IoT's Full Potential

Recent advances in wireless connectivity have unlocked new and greater potential for IoT, enabling its promise to be realized at an accelerated pace. By overcoming various networking, bandwidth, and data limitations, more robust wireless technologies have paved the way for IoT to approach its full potential, characterized by effortless network interactions and seamless data exchanges. One technology that stands out is private wireless communication and networking enabled by LTE and 5G.

Private wireless is a compelling addition to existing networks in industry and manufacturing because it serves as a productivity multiplier. (As a private LTE or 5G network runs alongside existing wired or Wi-Fi networks, it can be installed without disruption to ongoing network operations.)

Running in conjunction with established networks, private networks can be used strategically to allocate resources most effectively, in turn boosting efficiency while reducing system strain across components. They also can augment established networks in several key ways: increasing security, extending reach, and improving performance and reliability.

Boosting Productivity and Driving Efficiency

Comprising a diverse array of interconnected systems seamlessly operating in tandem, modern IoT solutions leverage a spectrum of wireless technologies to finely tune resource allocation and uphold optimal performance standards. In this dynamic landscape, a ubiquitous Wi-Fi network is often harnessed to facilitate non-essential front-office tasks and communications, where occasional congestion or latency hiccups may prove merely inconvenient rather than disruptive.

However, in domains where downtime could spell disaster for mission-critical operations, such as robotics, packaging, and autonomous mobile delivery systems, a more robust solution is imperative. Here, the deployment of a dedicated private LTE network emerges as the cornerstone, offering unparalleled levels of availability and resilience. By harnessing this technology, organizations ensure uninterrupted functionality even amidst network overload or potential crashes, safeguarding against costly disruptions and maintaining peak operational efficiency.

The inherent capabilities of private network technology pay off with clear benefits. Network security can be improved with private wireless networks, which frequently incorporate encryption and offer options for localized authentication. Coverage can be expanded using private wireless, not just in terms of extended geographic range — indoors and out — but also in terms of increased connections. A 5G-enabled private wireless network can handle a thousand times the connections a conventional Wi-Fi network can accept, providing an immense jump in capacity to support IoT technology and devices across all areas of facility monitoring, control, communications, security, and other critical operations.

Integrating Private Wireless Successfully

By leveraging existing and new wireless network technologies to their fullest potential, industries and manufacturing can fully capitalize on the immense promise of IoT. The deployment of private wireless networks, in particular, requires careful planning and execution to ensure a successful project. Partnering with an experienced team that can provide guidance and support throughout the project is crucial to ensure that the deployment is seamless and meets the specific needs of the organization. With the right planning and execution, private wireless networks can unlock the full potential of IoT, enabling seamless connectivity, faster data transfer, and improved operational efficiency.

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