Saturday, July 20, 2024

Private Wireless Networks: Reshaping Industry Connectivity And Efficiency

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Explore how private wireless technology is transforming real-world industrial scenarios
by overcoming operational challenges and ushering in a new era of connectivity,
efficiency, and resilience through innovative solutions.

In the realm of modern industry, connectivity, efficiency, and reliability are paramount. The ever-accelerating pace of technological innovation has ushered in a new era, with private wireless technology standing at the forefront of this revolution. Moving beyond conventional connectivity solutions, private wireless networks offer a robust and resilient alternative, designed to meet the unique demands of various industrial sectors. From manufacturing giants in India to sprawling industrial complexes in the United States, the application of private wireless technology is redefining operational processes, emphasising its vital role in Industry 4.0.

Private wireless technology, although it might sound esoteric, isn’t entirely new. Think of it as an advanced version of the cellular network we use, optimised for a confined environment. Over time, it has taken on various names, such as private long-term evolution (LTE) or private cellular. For instance, envision an isolated network within a vast exhibition centre. In this scenario, all mobile devices communicate through this specific network rather than connecting to the broader internet. This setup exemplifies a private wireless system.

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The trajectory of private wireless technology has been dynamic, transitioning from 4.9G/LTE frameworks and gravitating towards the boundless potential of 5G. The future of industry operations, particularly in the realms of safety, security, and efficiency, is deeply intertwined with the progress of private wireless networks. Additionally, an ongoing debate compares Wi-Fi and private wireless. At its core, while both facilitate wireless connectivity, private wireless offers a broader range of capabilities. It’s no longer just about connectivity, but also about enhancing operational efficiencies, ensuring stringent security with built-in encryption, and adapting to modern industrial requirements.

The buzzword ‘Industry 4.0’ is making the rounds, signifying a paradigm shift underpinned by technological advancements like virtualisation, artificial intelligence (AI), and even quantum computing. Private wireless is at the heart of this revolution, playing a pivotal role in redefining business and operational processes. Historically, information technology (IT) dominated industrial operations. Fast forward to today, operational technology (OT), which focuses on machine-driven automation, is gaining significance. This harmonious convergence of IT and OT marks a turning point in the evolution of industries.

Given the competitive landscape, private wireless is emerging as a dominant force. “Globally, there are roughly 7 million macro base stations, essentially communication towers. However, when you look at the industrial enterprise or the industrial space, the interesting fact is that globally, there are 14 million industrial sites,” says Abin Chacko Moozhiyil, Global Marketing Practice Leader, Network & Edge, Kyndryl. Industries ranging from manufacturing and warehousing to healthcare are all vying to tap into the advantages of private wireless. Nevertheless, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t suffice. Each industry, with its unique operational intricacies, demands custom-tailored private wireless solutions.

Flexibility and cost-efficiency
Private wireless networks, including private LTE and 5G, are proving to be effective alternatives to traditional wired connections, particularly in scenarios where such connections are not feasible. Consider these key points:
• They can be deployed flexibly, providing reliable connectivity in large, expansive environments.
• These networks reduce the substantial costs of installing and maintaining large-scale wired infrastructures.
• They are subject to ongoing improvements, with advancements anticipated in roaming and mobility.
Despite these technologies still being in their development phases, they offer promising prospects for the future. Private wireless networks are poised to play a significant role in the connectivity landscape by facilitating widespread and reliable connectivity across various contexts. With their ability to provide cost-effective and adaptable solutions, they are worth watching as we navigate towards a more connected future.

Wireless’ evolution to Wi-Fi 6: Do we really need private wireless?


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