Reliable Wireless Industrial Communication

Manufacturing of complex and individualized products requires continuous operation of challenging automated factory workflows involving, e.g., decentralized production control. Important enablers for this kind of distributed systems are ubiquitous, seamless connectivity and real-time communication between machines in industrial environments. Establishing such systems increases flexibility and productivity because it allows for coordination and control of overall production processes. At the same time it creates a need for mobile machines which communicate and are positioned via wireless networks based on the instantaneous availability of data. Therefore, the reliability, latency, data rate and even positioning accuracy requirements on industrial communication systems are escalating continuously.

Fraunhofer IIS is focusing on providing solutions for reducing the total latency and increasing the reliability of wireless communication systems to meet the stringent time requirements in industrial environments:

  • 5G for industrial communication networks
  • UWIN – wireless technology for private industrial networks

5G – key enabler for industrial communication networks

Ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC)

The upcoming 5G standard will be able to meet enhanced requirements as it targets latencies under one millisecond, data rates of up to ten gigabits per second, extremely high network reliability, and better accuracy in positioning. Thereby, 5G provides fast and reliable access to moving objects in order to achieve time-critical process control and optimization in industrial environments, which are not possible with today’s cellular technology. As requirements vary according to the specific use cases, 5G New Radio (NR) will provide a flexible air interface allowing for scalable bandwidths, data rates, latencies, and positioning accuracy levels.

Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency Communication (URLLC) is a key enabler for seamless interaction between machines in time-critical applications.

Industrial applications require a reduction of communication latency while simultaneously guaranteeing an extremely high level of reliability. All layers of the communication system need to be optimized starting from physical layer by scaling down the transmission time and enhancing reliability through increased redundancies. Upcoming LTE releases use a shorter version of the transmission time interval (sTTI) and apply enhanced functionality for higher reliability (HRLLC). 5G NR will introduce increased subcarrier spacing resulting in shorter transmission slots and a shorter HARQ round-trip time enabling higher reliability. Complementarily, more effort in both LTE and NR is invested to further reduce the processing time required in the upper layers of the protocol stack.

5G Technologies for Industrial IoT

5G technologies for Industrial IoT

UWIN – Ultra reliable Wireless Industrial Network

Wireless technology for private industrial networks

Numerous industrial automation systems have sensors, actuators and other automation components located on movable subsystems. Tools on robot arms, slide rails and rotary and coordinate tables are examples of such subsystems. They often have to be connected to the overall control system ensuring very short cycle times. The cable drag chains, rotary feedthroughs and slide contacts used for this purpose nowadays have numerous disadvantages. For instance, they limit the motion trajectories of the subsystems, the number of attachable automation components and the opportunities for future retrofits or extensions.

To solve this problem, Fraunhofer IIS is developing a radio technology that is deployable as a wireless extension or even as a substitute for wired fieldbuses. Compared to modern radio technologies, it enables superior real-time signal transmission with extremely short latency, maximum reliability and 30 times more user data per telegram.

Further information


Mobile communications and beyond

5G technologies for mobile broadband, Industry 4.0, connected mobility and satellite communication