IOT

One-Two Punch of Wireless and PLC Set to Transform IIoT

Semitech Semiconductor Supports PLC/RF Hybrid Mesh to Maximize Coverage and Improve Connectivity in Challenging Industrial Environments

Picture it: a bustling manufacturing plant where every machine, every process, and every component seamlessly communicates to optimize operations. In this scenario, a predictive maintenance system powered by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) detects a subtle anomaly in a critical piece of machinery, well before it escalates into a costly breakdown. Instantly, an alert is sent to the maintenance team, who then remotely access the machine’s diagnostic data, pinpoint the issue, and schedule a maintenance intervention – all without disrupting production.

The benefits of IIoT cannot be overstated. When implemented effectively, IIoT ecosystems can improve efficiency, productivity and transparency, encompassing everything from optimizing business processes and resource deployments to scheduling predictive maintenance and dynamically reacting to local changes – all in real-time.

Reliable communication is a critical piece of industrial systems becoming “smart,” as it facilitates remote monitoring and management capabilities. However, many industrial facilities rely on legacy equipment and infrastructure that was not designed to support IoT integration. Retrofitting these systems to accommodate reliable communication can be both complex and costly. Additionally, industrial processes often demand high levels of reliability and uptime. IIoT devices must be able to withstand harsh environmental conditions, electromagnetic interference, and power outages without compromising performance.

Making this all possible is the marriage of two powerful communication technologies: Power Line Communication (PLC) and wireless mesh networks. PLC technology utilizes existing power lines to transmit data signals, effectively turning electrical wiring into a communication medium. This eliminates the need for additional infrastructure, making it a cost-effective and convenient solution. In industrial environments, where electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI) are common, PLC provides immunity to external interference, ensuring reliable data transmission even in harsh operating conditions. Conversely, wireless mesh networks leverage radio frequency (RF) signals to transmit data over the air, offering mobility, scalability, easy accessibility and connectivity in areas where power networks are unavailable or not well-maintained.

Together, they create a hybrid network that combines the reliability of PLC with the accessibility of wireless, forming the backbone of a robust IIoT ecosystem.

This convergence of technologies isn’t just theoretical – it’s driving real-world transformations in industrial environments around the globe. Companies like Semitech Semiconductor are at the forefront of this revolution, developing innovative solutions that bridge the connectivity gap and propel industries into the future. An innovative provider of reliable wireless and PLC solutions for smart grid, automotive and industrial IoT applications, Semitech is an early supporter and active technology contributor to the first industry hybrid mesh standard – its SM2400 PLC+RF platform conforms to G3-Alliance Hybrid specifications.

“Simply put, the integration of PLC and wireless technology offers a compelling solution for bridging the connectivity divide in various applications,” said Semitech CEO Zeev Collin. “Hybrid PLC/RF mesh networks deliver high reliability and scalability, while adding flexibility and increasing data capacity and speed. Together, these complementary technologies make an efficient, cost-effective solution for IIoT applications.”

Semitech’s SM2400 PLC+RF platform is backwards compatible with existing deployments, flexible enough to adapt to different environments that have slightly different requirements, able to reliably communicate amongst many devices even in changing conditions, and can be adjusted to meet regional regulations and operating frequencies. The company’s G3/IEEE 1901.2, WiSUN and hybrid mesh technology has been deployed in millions of nodes and is available for licensing.

As technology continues to evolve, the adoption of PLC and wireless hybrid networks is expected to grow, unlocking new possibilities and driving innovation across industries. With its pioneering support for the first industry hybrid mesh standard and highly reliable, scalable, flexible solutions, Semitech is paving the way for smarter, more efficient IIoT applications.

For more information, please visit www.semitechsemi.com.

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