IWLAN – the WLAN for challenging industrial applications
Industrial wireless communication – a key element in the digital transformation
The advances being made in the digitalization of industry would be inconceivable without state-of-the-art communications technology. To provide businesses with the best possible infrastructure for exchanging data of all kinds, Siemens has developed dedicated Industrial Wireless LAN (WLAN) products with special additional functions to meet the specific demands of Wi-Fi in industry. These are particularly useful for applications in automation, for example in automotive manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and the oil and gas industry.
iFeatures expand opportunities in industry applications of all kindsWireless communication via Industrial Wireless LAN (IWLAN) is already used in countless solutions, e.g. by mobile network participants in Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGV) or in crane applications. Not only the hardware, but also the software of the network components must meet special requirements for use in the industry.
Siemens has developed special iFeatures for use in industrial environments which are enabled by KEY-PLUGs or CLPs inserted into the devices. These smart additional functions can be easily activated as software – also subsequently – on various IWLAN Access Points and Client Modules. These additional functions are suitable for all industries and all kinds of application. The following typical examples of application offer more detailed information.
Wi-Fi 6 for industry
The IEEE 802.11ax WLAN standard for industrial wireless communication permits higher data rates, improved performance, greater efficiency, and future viability. The advantages of Wi-Fi 6 are extended by Siemens specifically for the requirements of the industry. With the new SCALANCE W Access Points and Client Modules, you can start using Wi-Fi 6 immediately.
Unlimited communicationRequirements on industrial networks are constantly increasing in the course of digitalization. Particularly when dealing with wireless data transmission, the network components are subject to very specific requirements: our IWLAN solutions guarantee maximum reliability and performance.
Many applications, exact solutions
No matter which industry or which application you need, our wireless communication components cover a wide range of applications for both indoor and outdoor use. They are uniquely suited to industrial applications, even under the harshest conditions.
The open Industrial Ethernet standard PROFINET or Ethernet/IP as well as PROFIsafe via WLAN also ensure increased efficiency, flexibility and safety. You can either manage network components via the convenient web-based management of the devices, or you can use the scalable network management system SINEC NMS. This is particularly efficient if you want to manage several IWLAN components in parallel.
Effective Industrial Wireless LAN diagnostics with SCALANCE W
Reliable wireless communication connections without interruptions are possible due to three integrated diagnostics tools: Spectrum Analyzer, Signal Recorder and Remote Capture.
Discover the benefits and find out about the many possibilities for creating your individual network solution with IWLAN.
Expert support for future-proof communication networksProfessional services for industrial networks: first-class network components alone will not be enough to create a first-class industrial communication network. A thorough understanding of network designs and how to implement them is at least as important. Our certified solution partners and Siemens experts give you professional help in developing your network solution, tailored to meet your specific requirements.
Support from design to implementation
How can you ensure that a communication network will meet all current and future industry requirements? And how do you get the most out of the potential offered by state-of-the-art networks? The best way is to work with a reliable, skilled partner that’s every bit at home in industrial automation as in designing and implementing communication networks. With Siemens you receive on-site service and support, consulting services for network design, support with integration and deployment, and training services for your employees. A site survey and planning as well as the right choice of components prior to putting wireless solutions into operation are essential to ensure smooth operation. We’re happy to provide support when you need it.
Robust and long-lasting hardware, special approvals, and service
- The life cycle of industrial Wi-Fi 6 is considerably longer since industrial cycles are longer term than for home or office use regarding investment planning. The devices with the respective technologies are available on the market long-term.
- The hardware for industrial Wi-Fi 6 solutions is considerably more robust compared to standard WLAN solutions – and thus optimally suited for demanding environmental conditions (e.g., higher temperature range, high IP protection class with increased protection against water and dust, conformal coating, etc.).
- Wi-Fi 6 for industry offers special approvals and certifications that are required for the use in an industrial environment. This also applies to special fields of application with, for example, railway approvals for applications in the rail environment or ATEX certifications for potentially explosive areas (ATEX).
- The industrial Wi-Fi 6 products from Siemens possess international wireless approvals for worldwide use.
- Siemens offers both technical and logistical support – internationally.
Software (see also questions 2 + 3)
- Wi-Fi 6 for industry makes possible a flexible, low effort scalability of wireless networks in an industrial environment. For example, through the integration into network management systems (such as SINEC NMS), several WLAN components in the network can be centrally commissioned, configured, monitored, and diagnosed.
- Industrial Wi-Fi also offers expanded optimization options for WLAN parameters, e.g., roaming optimization, channel selection, adjustable channel width, retries, etc.
- In addition, industrial Wi-Fi 6 solutions from Siemens also cover a comprehensive IT feature set, e.g., VLAN, 802.1x, NAT, etc., which ensures a smooth integration into existing industrial networks.
- Wi-Fi 6 components from Siemens meet the highest standards, e.g., they are TÜV-certified, and the secure development process is carried out in accordance with the security standard IEC 62443.
- In contrast to standard Wi-Fi 6 offerings, industrial Wi-Fi 6 solutions from Siemens possess so-called iFeatures – special additional functions for industry, e.g., for redundancy over WLAN.
iFeatures are software-based additional functions that have been specifically developed for the special requirements of industry. Even though Wi-Fi 6 offers numerous improvements over previous WLAN technologies, additional features are needed for industry that go beyond the standard. In focus are, for example:
- Real-time communication for guided applications using RCoax systems, including Safety Integrated for critical safety applications over WLAN (iPCF)
- High scalability in terms of the number of participants and the spatial size of the application, e.g., for fleets with automated guided vehicles (AGVs), including Safety Integrated (iPCF-MC)
- Redundancy and increased availability via wireless WLAN communication (iPRP)
Further detailed information on the iFeatures can be found here.
Upon market entry, IEEE 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) devices will support iPRP for redundancy over WLAN.
IEEE 802.11n devices, on the other hand, also offer the iFeatures iPCF and iPCF-MC. These enable real-time communication, including Safety Integrated concepts, which standard Wi-Fi 6 products without additional industrial functions do not support.
That is why the IEEE 802.11n portfolio (SCALANCE W788/ W774/ W761) still offers better performance for these applications for the time being.
Wi-Fi 6 has the same range as the previous standards since the same frequencies with the same permitted transmission power are used. Both existing plans from the past and the existing accessories, e.g., antennas, can be used. No Wi-Fi 6-specific antenna portfolio is thus required. There are no additional acquisition costs.
Note: Spatial Re-Use/ BSS Coloring are not yet to be considered in planning, because these can only have full impact in pure Wi-Fi 6 environments. Within the next few years, we do not see a significant advantage here in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
WLAN with iFeatures and Wi-Fi 6 already enable a wide range of use cases, e.g., connection of mobile participants to series machines, overhead monorails and thruster platforms in the automotive environment, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and shuttle systems in intralogistics area, train-to-ground communication or passenger service in the transportation industry, and many more.
If you are not sure whether a wireless solution makes sense for your application and/or whether WLAN can be the right technology for your requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us:
For the specific implementation, we support you with our partners and Professional Services – from planning to final commissioning.
Everything about IWLAN
Direct path to fast, reliable and robust IWLAN
To develop or modernize your wireless communication system, Siemens not only offers the ideal hardware and high-performance additional functions designed especially for the needs of industry; our experts will also advise you and put the ideal solution in place for you, individually tailored to your application. Don’t delay – talk to us now.