There is no denying that we are living in an increasingly digital world, where we heavily rely on technology to stay connected in all aspects of our lives. According to DataProt, there are more than 10 billion active Internet of Things (IoT) devices in use in 2021, with this number expected to surpass 25 billion by 2030.
However, until recently, IoT devices were primarily consumer-focused, but we are now seeing IoT open up new opportunities for industry environments. With IoT, businesses can boost profits and improve efficiency and productivity. The use of sensors and automated or remotely controlled equipment allows for huge volumes of data to be generated and analysed to transform operations and overhaul operations, says Livia Rosu, president of HomeGrid Forum.
As the number of devices in the Industrial IoT (IIoT) sector grow, so too does the pressure on network infrastructure as it must quickly and efficiently manage the demand for high-speed communication. G.hn technology is playing a key role in ensuring seamless connectivity within industry environments, as the secure and robust backbone it provides ensures optimum efficiency, security, scalability and safety. As IIoT networks grow, it is critical that G.hn is a key part of the Industry 4.0 revolution.
The role of G.hn
G.hn can work on four forms of media, powerline, coaxial cable, telephone cable and plastic optical fibre, so G.hn for IIoT is equivalent to conveniently getting data and power on a single line. The topology simplifies wiring architecture and enables significant cost savings on installation, maintenance and materials by reusing existing wires. With industrial companies under pressure to maximise return on investment, G.hn is a solution that is incredibly cost-effective.
Not only that, but G.hn provides superior power line noise immunity to other connectivity technologies. To facilitate fast communication, G.hn can bridge the gap between the legacy systems, which are common in industry environments, and the newer technology that can transform operations. Although machines, components and devices have become increasingly wireless, wired legacy systems are still common in enabling communications within industrial settings.
G.hn technology implemented a number of advanced powerline noise mitigation techniques, such as the PHY layer selective retransmission activating the retransmission of data when necessary to overcome instantaneous impulse noise. Another technique is power line synchronous noise and mitigation, which applies different subcarrier bit-loading when detecting synchronous noise, such as power supply switching, chargers and LED lighting.
The adaptive subcarrier bit-loading algorithm based on channel condition, and the advanced LDPC error correction offer also optimal spectrum efficiency in a noise channel environment. For industrial applications, ensuring a low latency is more critical than ensuring a high bandwidth, so the use of powerline communications is a safe bet for end-to-end IP communication providing cost-effective simultaneous power distribution on cable.
DIN rail G.hn solutions are already available for industrial plants, optimising data transmission right at the control cabinets or fuse boxes. The ubiquity of G.hn profiles allows for similar implementations with the use of coax cabling, again considered as a unique advantage surviving in harsh environments.
Enabling high speed connectivity
Within the industrial sector, low latency and reliable connectivity are vital to keep machine-to-machine communications and operations running smoothly. Without it, downtime or a degradation of service will be unavoidable. G.hn acts as essential time-critical and safety-critical infrastructure, with its robust capabilities allowing for mission critical communications and the ability for the network to self-heal.
It allows for fast installation and works seamlessly through existing wiring to provide the low latency connectivity upon which industrial applications rely. G.hn topologies provide the IIoT backbone network for high speed and multi-hop point to multipoint (P2MP) connectivity for up to 250 nodes.
A G.hn software stack comes with multi-hop, low latency and high throughput features which are essential for large scale, fast IIoT applications, such as smart elevator control, smart metering and smart grids, smart parking and smart building automation backbone networks. It is also suitable for environmental sensors, video surveillance and safety panels for employee welfare, due to its real-time, two-way traffic handling and high bandwidth.
A G.hn based solution that is customised for an IIoT Self Organised Network (SON) provides a number of unique features for industrial environments and applications. The plug-and-play feature allows for automatic repeater selection and configuration, negating the need for any manual interference. Each node takes its own decision through distributed algorithms, which allow for a fast network installation time. Network stability is ensured as each node confirms connection stability after the selection of the parent node, while optimal path selection and network self-healing are other important features that G.hn architecture offers.
An IIoT future with G.hn
We are already witnessing the great benefits for industrial environments with the implementation of G.hn and IIoT, which will become increasingly important as the ever-growing demand for high-speed connectivity grows. HomeGrid Forum members are already developing and releasing G.hn based industrial products that drive innovation and digital transformation within the industrial sectors. To really maximise from the benefits that IIoT offers, G.hn must be utilised to simplify system writing and deliver robust, reliable performance for a range of future-proof industrial applications.
The author is Livia Rosu, president of HomeGrid Forum.
About the author
Livia Rosu has just been appointed as president of the HomeGrid Forum. Previously she has been the chair of the marketing working group and member of the board of directors for HomeGrid Forum for six years. The Forum supports the deployment and innovation of G.hn, the world-renowned Gigabit networking technology based on ITU-T standard and design, providing an essential backbone for smart home connectivity and bandwidth-intensive applications. Livia is a qualified Computer Science engineer (MSc, MBA) with more than 18 years’ experience of business development within the telecommunications sector, dedicated to standardising revolutionary technologies necessary for next-generation applications such as Li-Fi, Smart Grids and Smart Cities.