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Wi-Fi Evolutions Promise Stronger Ecosystem

May 7, 2020
With the introduction of dual channel spectrum slicing, Edgewater Wireless helps manufacturers bridge gap while waiting on 5G.

Over the past year or so, the promised deployment of 5G has gained significant attention, especially within manufacturing circles. And for good reason. After all, as manufacturers continue to build out their IoT environments, the number of wireless sensors and devices they depend on is growing almost as fast as the mountains of data production equipment produces.  Simply put, manufacturers need to be able to maintain connectivity, and in many instances, doing so wirelessly has been a struggle.

For the first time, 5G represents a wireless deployment designed almost entirely to address industrial applications including supporting far more devices, essentially eliminating latency and delivering speeds that far exceed existing offerings. Of course, for many companies, the benefits of 5G are still a number of months into the future. At least in the early stages of deployment, for many manufacturers to realize the promised benefits of 5G will require building out private networks, which can prove to be a complex endeavor, explains Andrew Skafel, CEO of Edgewater Wireless.

“Fortunately, the latest evolution of Wi-Fi puts the technology in a position to complement 5G as manufacturers continue to grow their reliance on IoT devices. Wi-Fi gives manufacturers the ability tailor the service to meet individualized needs. There will be applications within the manufacturing environment where 5G is preferred, but rather than being in competition with Wi-Fi the goal should be to build out a complimentary ecosystem."

Skafel tells IndustryWeek, the biggest changes in Wi-Fi focus on addressing the enormous number of devices manufacturers are bringing online despite the challenging operating environments.

Edgewater has developed and patented the industry's first multi lane highway for Wi-Fi essentially slicing spectrum to support more devices. While slicing compromises burst rate speed, it solves the problem of supporting more devices. IoT is a great example of that because it doesn't require a huge burst rate speed, but it does require connectivity, robust connections and low latency.

Developed in concert with CableLabs, the global research and development arm of the Cable Industry, Dual-Channel Wi-Fi eliminates dropouts, lag, provides seamless connections for video applications, dramatically reduce latency by using two separate channels for connecting devices and enables multiple, concurrent downlink-only channels reduces contention – taking legacy connectivity to the next level.

“It’s time to use spectrum more efficiently. This is where Wi Fi spectrum slicing can prove pivotal, especially within the manufacturing space, where valid concerns exist around constant connectivity and latency management to avoid delays in the real time management of machine or sensor monitoring support all those devices.”

About the Author

Peter Fretty | Technology Editor

As a highly experienced journalist, Peter Fretty regularly covers advances in manufacturing, information technology, and software. He has written thousands of feature articles, cover stories, and white papers for an assortment of trade journals, business publications, and consumer magazines.

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