IWLAN – the Wireless LAN for demanding industrial applications
Wireless industrial communication as a key element of digitalization
The ongoing digital transformation of industry would not be possible without modern communication technologies. To offer companies the optimal infrastructure for exchanging all types of data, Siemens has developed special Industrial Wireless LAN (IWLAN) products with unique added functions that meet the specific requirements of industrial Wi-Fi inside the control cabinet, indoors, and outdoors. Applications in all industrial sectors are benefiting from these products, especially in automation – including automotive manufacturing, transportation, logistics, and the oil and gas industry.
Unlimited Wi-Fi with added industrial functionsThe requirements placed on industrial networks are constantly increasing as part of the digital transformation. Especially when dealing with wireless data transmission, network components are subject to very specific requirements. Our IWLAN solutions guarantee maximum reliability and performance.
Many applications, specific solutions
Regardless of the sector or use case, our components for Wi-Fi communication cover a wide range of applications for both indoor and outdoor use and are uniquely suited for industry, even in the harshest conditions.
In addition, the open Industrial Ethernet standard PROFINET or EtherNet/IP and PROFIsafe via Wireless LAN ensure greater efficiency, flexibility, and security. You can manage network components either via convenient web-based device management or use the scalable SINEC NMS Network Management System. This is especially efficient when you need to manage multiple IWLAN components simultaneously.
Efficient Industrial Wireless LAN diagnostics with SCALANCE W
Trouble-free wireless communication with no interruptions is possible thanks to three integrated diagnostic tools: a spectrum analyzer, signal recorder, and remote capture. Fast diagnostics reduce downtime caused by errors and the often lengthy search for the cause. With the SCALANCE W portfolio, you’ll benefit from simple and efficient fault diagnostics in your Industrial Wireless LAN.
Your benefits from Industrial Wireless LAN
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.
iFeatures: Special functions for Industrial Wireless LANWireless communication via Industrial Wireless LAN (IWLAN) is a solution that’s already being used in numerous applications: for example, mobile network participants like automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and crane applications. The devices’ hardware and software both need to meet special industrial requirements.
iFeatures at a glance
The requirements placed on industrial networks are constantly increasing during the digital transformation. Wireless communication via Industrial Wireless LAN (IWLAN) is already used in countless solutions. In addition to SCALANCE W hardware designed for industrial use, Siemens offers clever additional functions called iFeatures that were developed specifically for industry. They can be activated as software – including retroactively – on different IWLAN Access Points and Client Modules via KEY-PLUG or CLP.
Deterministic communication for overhead monorails
This additional industrial function is especially relevant for overhead monorails. In these linear structured applications, using RCoax radiating cables instead of conventional antennas ensures a reliable and continuous signal quality.
The industrial Point Coordination Function (iPCF) iFeature allows a radio cell’s entire data flow to be sorted – making the communication deterministic. This is managed by the Access Point that cyclically polls all the radio cell clients. iPCF also facilitates fast and reliable switching between two radio cells while ensuring constant roaming times of significantly less than 50 ms.
Maximum freedom of movement and reliable connections
The industrial Point Coordination Function-Management Channel (iPCF-MC) iFeature is ideal for applications involving mobile clients that move freely in the field and communicate with the controller via PROFINET (and even PROFIsafe) or EtherNet/IP. iPCF-MC provides the necessary deterministics and real-time communication. Although rarely required, applications with RCoax and directional antennas are also available.
As with iPCF, the clients are cyclically polled (deterministics). With the iPCF-MC iFeature, the client continuously scans its environment for alternative Access Points. Should the radio quality deteriorate, a change to another Access Point can be planned and very quickly implemented. This is enabled by using two wireless interfaces on the Access Point simultaneously in different ways: While one interface transmits a cyclic signal (beacon), the other is used for data transfer.
Redundant technology for rail transportation
Spatial barriers, poor wireless coverage, or interference often cause disturbances. In addition, it’s not usually possible to predict the duration of a roaming process. All of these factors can result in a breakdown in communications.
These problems can occur in all mobile applications, including automatic guided vehicles (AGV). Railway applications in which Client Modules in the moving train communicate with the Access Points on the trackside also need to meet special requirements.
The industrial Parallel Redundancy Protocol (iPRP) iFeature facilitates the use of redundancy technology for parallel utilization of two radio links in wireless networks. This supplementary function enables redundant communication over two IWLAN connections, even with moving applications. Disruptions to data transfer on one radio link are compensated by parallel transmission on a second link. Whenever the roaming process is delayed or interference occurs, communication continues running reliably via this second path.
Prevent data manipulation and theft
Inter AP-Blocking prevents cross-communication between Wi-Fi Clients. Defining secure communication partners and gateways reduces the security risk in a network environment with unknown participants.
Normally, the clients connected to an Access Point can communicate with all the participants in the layer 2 network. This poses a potential security risk because your devices can also be accessed by unknown and unsafe network participants. As a result, communication with other nodes in the network is prohibited in security-relevant applications in order to prevent data manipulation and theft or other failures.
The Inter AP-Blocking iFeature makes it possible to restrict communication by clients connected to the Access Point. This additional security function ensures that clients within the network infrastructure only connect to secure, predefined Access Points. Only those devices whose IP addresses have been configured on the Access Point as allowed addresses can be reached by the clients. Communication with other network participants is prohibited and blocked.
Professional support for future-proof communication networks
Professional Services for Industrial Networks: State-of-the-art network components alone aren’t enough to create a state-of-the-art industrial communication network. Expertise in network design and implementation is at least as important. With Siemens, you get on-site service and support, consulting services for network design, support for integration and implementation, and training services for your personnel. Before wireless solutions are commissioned, it’s especially important to ensure precise radio field coverage and planning as well as the right choice of components for ensuring smooth operation. Our certified solution partners and Siemens experts provide you with highly qualified support for developing your network solution – designed for your specific requirements.
In order to protect plants, systems, machines and networks against cyber threats, it is necessary to implement – and continuously maintain – a holistic, state-of-the-art industrial security concept. Siemens’ products and solutions only form one element of such a concept. For more information about industrial security, please visit.
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.