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Types of IoT Networks

What is IoT Network?

IoT Network refers to the communication technologies Internet of Things (IoT) devices use to share or spread data to other devices or interfaces available within reachable distance. Various types of IoT networks are available for IoT devices/sensors to communicate. Choosing the proper networking protocol for given requirements is critical to collecting real-time data and accessing insights through IoT applications.

This technical reference book will explore various types of IoT networks available for IoT implementation and selection strategy.

As the industry revolutionizes with changing times, the current industry 4.0 is a recipient of advancement in telecom technology that has innovated the IoT (Internet of Things). The IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), a sub-specification of the IoT, is designed to facilitate industry automation and enable Smart manufacturing

IIoT focuses on parameters exclusive to the manufacturing industry and exhibits potential growth, production, optimization, and maintenance of industrial outputs and equipment, respectively. At the heart of IoT technology for industries, the choice of network plays a vital role in the success of IIoT with Smart Manufacturing. Let’s explore wireless networks for smart manufacturing.

Understanding Layers of Network in IoT Space

To wisely choose which network appropriately supports the needs of an industry, it is advised to stay informed on network layers in the IoT space. IoT includes a lot of machine communication, device identification, and communication, along with active machine learning tools for data analytics

Therefore, a robust network is required to support the same.
Owing to facilitate your understanding, here is a structure that pictures the network layering in IoT technology:

  • Network / Links Layer
  • Internet Layer
  • Transport Layer
  • Application Layer

The first links layer aligns with industry standards like that of IEEE 802 MAC and IEEE 802 PHY, which deal with local and metropolitan area networks. It is restricted to short data transmission of uniformly sized cells. The next layer is the internet layer (IPv4/IPv6/IP Routing), which is internet-ready connected devices/systems that communicate within internet-connected domains with the help of a device-unique identification.

Following the internet layer is the transport layer consisting of TCP/UDP/DTLS/HTTP over the wire, which helps communicate between systems as part of transportation principles and protocols. The application layer at the apex accommodates industry standard approaches like MQTTCoAP, and API for application communication between devices/systems.

Types of IoT Networks

Wireless networks are no new inventions in the realm of technology but have been subject to advancement and innovation from time to time to tackle rising challenges with growing devices/systems in communication. Here are major wireless network types that can facilitate IoT applications and IoT sensor deployment in industries.

 

  • RFID
  • BLE / NFC
  • WIFI / LoFI
  • MESH Protocols
  • LPWAN (LoRa, Sigfox)
  • Cellular (3G / 4G /5G)
Types of IoT Networks

Progressive standards are being introduced for sophistication, from RFID scanning and communication to Bluetooth (BLE/NFC) data communication. Though BLE/NFC is mobile phone operation-centric, other network protocols serve the purpose of IoT deployment in line with industry prerequisites.

IoT deployment is supported by cellular (2G, 3 G, 4G & 5G) network protocols and WiFi / LoFI by providing efficient local area networking of short-range devices and internet access.

MESH protocols are radio nodes organized in a mesh topology to connect devices and nodes for data transfer and communication that can be opted in IoT deployment based on customers’ needs.

The LPWAN (LoRa, Sigfox) is a futuristic invention that refers to a low-power wide area network that lowers power consumption while offering an advanced network for connectivity. It is designed to facilitate long-range wireless communications at a low bit rate among connected devices/systems.

Comparison of IoT Network Spec

Specific to wide area coverage, remote connectivity, and maintenance that IoT deployment brings to industries with IIoT sub-specification, it is essential to compare and note the best wireless network based on IoT specifications to serve the requirements of manufacturing industries. Wireless networks can be accordingly customized.

 

IoT Network Spec

LTE-M / NB-IOT

LoRa

Sigfox

Cellular (3G/4G)

Specification

3GPP

LoRa-Alliance (Open)

Sigfox (Private)

3GPP

Spectrum

Licensed

Unlicensed / Free

Unlicensed / Free

Licensed

Bandwidth

180 Mhz

125 - 500 Khz

200 Khz

5Mhz - 20Mhz

Data Rate

200+ Kbps

27 Kbps

600 dB

380+ Kbps

Payload per day

Unlimited

Low

Low

High

Power Consumption

Medium

Low

Low

High

App Usage

Frequent Data

Frequent Data

Periodic Data

Streaming Data

The above table indicates a comparison of types of IoT network specifications between 4 large competitors across the globe for IoT deployments. Note that these are open specifications, varying from provider to provider.

The left side of the image indicates IoT network specification and the subsequent four columns indicate the wireless network providers. There are restrictions about the network service providers and what it offers, but it can be tailored to suit particular industry needs.

Revolution of 5G Network

Of the 5G network revolution, there are 3 crucial aspects considered for the deployment of IoT in the manufacturing industry. The bandwidth of data, speed of data transfer, and battery life of IoT devices are most relevant to IoT deployment.

5G Network

Since IoT deployments are usually remote, higher bandwidth and faster real-time data transmission are mandatory requirements; fortunately, the 5G network is much more advanced in these fields and smoothens IoT deployment and functioning in manufacturing industries between remote units and production centers.

Though currently, the 5G network is cellular-based, meeting IoT standards with a 5G network would require many more accessibility points across the globe. From a futuristic perspective, the 5G wireless network broadens IoT prospects with its features to support smart industries, homes, and buildings.

Wireless IoT Network for Smart Manufacturing

As is noted, smart manufacturing with IIoT technology is a key enabler of Industry 4.0. Wireless network plays a pivotal role in IoT deployment to collect data, and therefore, the right choice of network is to be made. 

So, IIoT smart manufacturing use case specifications are to be addressed along with the volume of data. The image below indicates use case specifications toward the extreme left side, and the following two columns show the volumes of data and wireless network needed for smart manufacturing IoT deployments.

 

Smart Manufacturing Use Cases

Data Rate

Network Required

Predictive Maintenance

High Volume Data by Machines

Higher Data Rate / Unlimited

Addictive Production

Bigger Size Data Feeding

Higher Volume

Asset Performance Optimization

High Volume Data by Asset

Higher Volume

Remote Services

Streaming Data to Command

Higher Data Rate / Unlimited

Quality Control & Analysis

Moderate Data by Hour

Low Volume

Inventory Optimization

Moderate Data by Hour

Low Volume

Human Robot Collaboration

Streaming Data to Command

Higher Data Rate / Unlimited

The use of the above case specifications is central to smart manufacturing. Example: Features like predictive maintenance that predicts machine work optimized duration and schedules downtime require a high volume of data transmission in real-time by machine condition monitoring to perform prediction. 

As a result, it demands a higher data rate at unlimited service. Likewise, the image helps read and analyze similar use case specifications, data volume, and required network type.

Upon opting for IIoT technology for your manufacturing industry, there follows a crucial protocol for selecting a network for the best results of smart manufacturing. There are many wireless networks in the market; in order to ease the selection of a suitable wireless network for your IIoT deployments, here is a reference model referred to as a ‘decision tree‘.

 

Wireless Network Decision Tree

A similar ‘Decision Tree’ can be sketched, primarily considering the deployment location. Once the location (remote, accessible) is noted, the availability of the power supply is to be assessed. Following this, data traffic assessment can be made about the volume of real-time data to be transferred. 

Depending on the data, several required nodes can be established, and the wireless network can be chosen accordingly. A customized ‘Decision Tree’ can be prepared using the above image as a model.

Conclusion

In conclusion notes, a wireless network for successful Smart manufacturing with IoT is a necessity. Prior thoughtful decisions are to be taken for valuable results with IoT technology in the manufacturing industry. 

Use this guide to explore detailed precisions for wireless network connectivity to strong-arm your entire manufacturing industry (across borders) for unhindered, efficient industry and production operations.

If you have further questions about IoT networks and usage, contact us at [email protected].

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