The importance of antenna performance in the Industrial Internet of Things
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies have provided a number of industries with enhanced operational efficiency through the integration of wireless devices. But unlike IoT, these devices require very specific wireless features to be integrated effectively.
Driving these features are their antenna solutions that determine their capabilities to perform their specialised role within a network. In this article, we unpack the difference between IIoT and IoT, the differences of wireless requirements and the importance of antenna performance.
What is the difference between IoT and IIoT?
Internet of Things (IoT) represents individual devices that showcase interoperability with others via a wireless network. These can range from sensors and switches to devices with integrated software to perform specific tasks. IoT devices can often perform multiple tasks as part of an intercommunicating network.
IoT applications are typically reserved for consumer level electronics and devices. Key examples are smart homes, wearable devices and wireless appliances. Each of these individual devices communicate to form a seamless user experience. For example, a consumer’s smart watch can communicate with wireless heaters and kettles to turn on once the user has woken up in the morning.
As its name suggests, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) shares the same principles as IoT in that it is a network of individual devices that communicate towards a unified goal. Where they differ, however, is that IIoT networks are specialised for industrial applications rather than consumer devices.
A standard IoT network usually consists of a handful of devices that need a balance of wireless features. Bandwidth, range and latency all need to be taken into consideration. As a result, typical consumer technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are used, as these devices are usually in close proximity and need to communicate significant amounts of data.
For IIoT networks, they demand specific wireless features, and as such require specialised wireless technologies. These are networks that can host hundreds of individual nodes across a wide area, but only communicate a small amount of data. Because of this, connectivity range and low power consumption need to be maximised, whereas other factors like throughput can be mostly ignored.
There are a range of dedicated IIoT wireless technologies available depending on the application. LoRa, LPWAN and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) are a few examples of IIoT wireless networks that specialise in long range and low power applications.
Why antenna performance is vital for IIoT devices
Similarly to the difference of wireless technologies, IIoT devices require a specific set of features from their antenna solutions. These devices are often in remote locations, need to operate for extended periods and are compact in terms of form factor. As a result, IIoT antennas need to suit these requirements:
Efficiency - High performance and low power consumption so that devices can reliably operate without the need of replacement.
Compact - As there are often hundreds of small devices in an IIoT network, their embedded antennas need to be compact yet perform reliably.
Performance - IIoT devices play a vital role in a range of operations and processes, and need to showcase high performance at all times.
High performance antennas for IIoT without compromise
IIoT comes with a range of specialised requirements when compared to its IoT counterpart. Because of this, device designers need antennas that can suit each of these requirements without settling on one over the other.
At Antenova, we provide high performing antenna solutions without compromising on any individual feature. We have a wide range of compact products that are available in different types and technologies to suit any design. And the best part, is that they are simple to integrate and showcase extremely high performance in any device. We even provide a complete integration hub to help you in finding the perfect wireless solution.
To find out more about how our antennas can enhance your IIoT project, contact a member of our team today.