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Accelerate Industry 4.0 connectivity with private wireless that bonds Wi-Fi with 4.9G/5G

Accelerate Industry 4.0 connectivity with private wireless that bonds Wi-Fi with 4.9G/5G

Private 4.9G/LTE and 5G networks are gaining more and more traction in asset-intensive industries as a way to power Industry 4.0 use cases.

However, enterprises within these industries generally cannot simply switch off their legacy wireless solutions and they will use them for years to come. Over time, they may convert some of these solutions by adding a suitable industrial 4.9/LTE and 5G modem or field routers, particularly when the legacy technology creates an issue for a specific use case. But this is still a lengthy process and in other cases, the benefits of doing so may not be obvious. 

For these reasons, industrial plants often end up for example with a mix of Wi-Fi for information technology (IT) and some less critical operational technology (OT) applications and private wireless for OT and more critical applications. They may also deploy multiple 4.9G/LTE spectrum as they ramp up connectivity and capacity on the route to full reliance on private wireless. So how can they extract maximum value from all these radio technologies and avoid increasing complexity?

Our answer is a new innovation called Nokia MX Boost for private wireless. 

In a nutshell, this unique Nokia Bell Labs-patented technology, also known as “real-time Selective Redundant Multi-path QUIC with Prioritized Congestion Control,” makes it easy to combine 4.9G/LTE or 5G private wireless networks with Wi-Fi or any other connectivity options. The result is aggregated multi-path connectivity that supports OT use cases by optimizing throughput in difficult radio conditions or improving determinism for very critical applications. 

Two operating modes, countless connectivity options

MX Boost is an IP-based solution, which means that it’s extremely simple to implement and has a limited impact on the network solutions it uses. It is deployed as a bonding and routing application on our MX Industrial Edge and multi-modem MX Boost-capable industrial devices. It works without requiring changes or specific algorithms on wireless access points, making it completely radio technology, spectrum and vendor agnostic. 

Enterprises can run MX Boost in one of two modes to meet the needs of different applications:

  • Aggregation mode boosts data rates in difficult radio conditions by splitting and recombining traffic from multiple radio channels. It includes real time probes on both links to measure their real-time performance to optimize reliability and latency. 
  • Replication mode automatically selects the best radio link and boosts reliability, latency and mobility by duplicating the same packets on all radio links.

The best connectivity for every use case

The two operating modes of MX Boost give enterprises more flexibility to use all the wireless technology and radio assets available at a given site to meet the demands of their OT applications. We’ve thought of a few interesting combinations for different types of applications. 

Adding Wi-Fi for non-critical OT applications

In the past, we’ve said that Wi-Fi is suitable for IT applications only because of its inherent limitations in coverage, mobility, latency and reliability. MX Boost makes it possible to use Wi-Fi for non-critical OT applications with limited mobility and latency requirements, such as operation management tools, storage systems and worker information systems. Enterprises can meet the needs of these applications by using MX Boost in replication mode to get the best performance and reliability from several Wi-Fi bands – for example, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E – at the same time. 

Enhancing business-critical OT applications in hotspots

Enterprises can use MX Boost in aggregation mode to combine Wi-Fi 6E with 4.9G/LTE private wireless for business-critical OT applications that require high data rates, capacity and quality in specific hotspots. For example, it takes up to ten cameras to enable remote control of a port crane. The mix of Wi-Fi plus 4.9G/LTE allows for the exclusive use of 4K cameras when Wi-Fi connectivity is good enough. MX Boost automatically switches back to 4.9G/LTE and full HD if congestion or interference degrades the Wi-Fi connection.

The combination of Wi-Fi and 4.9G/LTE can also meet the needs of other data-hungry applications, including high-quality sensor-based applications (e.g., molten metal impurity detection) and augmented reality (AR) maintenance applications.

Increasing determinism for mission-critical OT applications in challenging environments

Enterprises can use MX Boost in replication mode to combine two 4.9G bands or one 4.9G and one 5G band to improve reliability or determinism for mission-critical OT applications. This mode is particularly useful in highly loaded network environments and environments with challenging radio conditions such as those found in ports, metal factories and mines. For example, it can meet the demands of critical machine control applications that use PROFINET profiles that require reliable latency below 30 ms. 

Anticipating the use of 5G innovative new use cases

Enterprises can use MX Boost in replication mode to get the best from two 4.9G/LTE bands for extremely critical OT applications that require very high determinism or ultra-reliable low latency. This approach provides a way to anticipate the future use of 5G SA R16 or R17 industrial features and capabilities to provide levels of determinism or performance that couldn’t normally be achieved with a single 4.9G/LTE band. Applications in this extremely critical category include cloud programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and wireless connecting emergency systems.

Why should enterprises consider MX Boost?

  • Extract maximum value from and unify disparate radio technologies – particularly Wi-Fi and private wireless
  • Increase data rates in hotspots while maintaining private wireless reliability
  • Improve reliability for heavily used private wireless networks and in challenging environments
  • Provide the stable low latency required for innovative pre-5G R16-17 use cases
  • Get the most from spectrum assets 

Find out more

Visit our web page to learn more about how MX Boost for private wireless can provide reliable, high-performance multipath connectivity for your critical uses and help you reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 sooner.

Tristan Barraud de Lagerie

About Tristan Barraud de Lagerie

Tristan leads the portfolio marketing for Nokia private wireless innovations, aiming at the sustainable digital transformation of cities, transportation, public safety and industries. Enthusiastic by nature, Tristan is pushed by a constant wish that innovation can positively impact society and help prevent climate change.

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