Featured Articles

Stay updated opinions on technology news and networking issues related to wireless WAN, digital transformation, network security, and beyond.

Featured Articles

Transforming Industrial Ethernet Into Wireless Connectivity

Transforming Industrial Ethernet Into Wireless Connectivity Industrial Ethernet is a technology that has allowed to improve the performance of the operations of different industries. Because of features such as high reliability or determinism, Industrial Ethernet is a good alternative to achieve automation and control of systems. However, its dependence on a physical cable represents some limitations for its use. What is Industrial Ethernet? Industrial Ethernet is a system of wires that connect industrial devices to a single network, allowing the devices to communicate with each other in a secure, reliable, efficient, and quick (from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps) way. To do this, this technology uses industrial protocols as PROFINET®, POWERLINK®, EtherCAT®, etc., which assures determinism: that the correct manufacturing data is sent and received at a specific time, avoiding delays and disasters. Limitations of Industrial Ethernet Despite its advantages, Industrial Ethernet also has some drawbacks that may affect the quality of its operations. In the first place, there is a limitation on the distance between two nodes, so the length of the cable cannot be too long. If the distance is exceeded, the electrical signals are weakened as they travel. In addition, interferences from other equipment may decline the quality of the signals too, therefore, it is important to have a cable short enough that assures good communication among the devices without interference. Second, the number of devices connected to a single-cable network is limited as well. The Industrial Ethernet protocol CSMA/CD controls the communication between nodes and allows only one device to transmit signals at a time. If the number of devices connected to one shared segment is too high, there will be “traffic” among the transmissions and the signal will have to wait a long time before it is delivered. Migrating Into Wireless Connectivity A solution to the limitations mentioned above is using eSIX’s edgeWares. Through this technology, it is possible to enable the protocol of Industrial Ethernet into wireless connectivity. Therefore, headquarters would be able to communicate with the branch devices using industrial language without the constraints of cables. By using a wireless network, companies can unleash the mobility of their machines, which will increase the productivity and lower the cost of maintenance. edgeWares can also solve the second limitation that Industrial Ethernet has. By building a “tunnel” that encapsulates the data emitted by the devices, the information between nodes can be transferred in a smooth and uninterrupted way. It is worth noting that the deterministic feature of Industrial Ethernet would remain working when using eSIX’s edgeWares, so latencies and delays are not a problem, and the operations can be performed as needed. Conclusion Industrial Ethernet has features that are key for the development of automated machinery and enhanced control of systems. However, the cables from this networking technology limit their capacities. This can be solved by using eSIX’s edgeWares, which transform Industrial Ethernet into wireless connectivity, enabling mobility of machinery, seamless communication between nodes, and determinism, as well as enhancing productivity and reducing costs. Sources Analog Devices. (n.d.). What Is the Difference Between Ethernet and Industrial Ethernet? Retrieved from https://www.analog.com/en/technical-articles/what-is-the-difference-between-ethernet-and-industrial-ethernet.html Voss, W. (2019, July 2). Industrial Ethernet Guide - Limitations Of Ethernet. Copperhill Technologies. https://copperhilltech.com/blog/industrial-ethernet-guide-limitations-of-ethernet/
Featured Articles

Automation and Human Labor

Automation and Human Labor Introduction The development of new technologies in recent years has enabled human beings to boost their working efficiency. Automation— equipment, processes, or systems that are able to operate automatically— is one of the innovations that has helped people and businesses improve their performance. However, many fear the impact that this technology will have on human labor, fearing that machines will take over their jobs. In this article, we introduce some of the benefits of automation and provide an overview of the jobs that can potentially be automated. We then finalize with recommendations to assure a good implementation of automation in the businesses. Benefits of Automation Implementing automatic robots in a company has multiple benefits. In the first place, as it is widely known, automation can increase overall productivity and reduce production costs. This is because robots can work for longer periods of time, at a faster pace, and in a more reliable way compared to humans, which increases the production rate. In addition, automated machinery can improve the quality of the products/services, reduce waste, and promote better floor space utilization. Finally, by deploying automation companies can stay competitive and attract new customers thanks to the higher throughput and lower costs. Jobs That Can Be Automated In recent times, the fear of human labor being replaced by automated technology is a trending topic, however, the future is not devastating as many portray. As stated by Bughin et al., “while less than 5 percent of all occupations can be automated entirely using demonstrated technologies, about 60 percent of all occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent activities that could be automated” (2017). Indeed, when automation is effectively deployed in a business, repetitive activities are removed which allows people to focus on other tasks that are more important and dynamic (Harris, 2020). This enhances human labor and increases their productivity, quality of work, and may even raise the wages of the people (International Federation of Robotics, n.d.). It is important to consider that the effect of automation on employment depends on the occupation and the sector. Research from Batra et al. (2017) describes that physical jobs in predictable environments could be more affected by the consequences of this change, as well as jobs that require collecting and processing data. This could allow the creation of new jobs that require higher and newer skills. On the other hand, automation is not developed enough to perform jobs that involve people managing, expertise appliance, interpersonal interactions, and work in unpredictable environments (Batra et al., 2017). Adapting to the Changing Times It is of great importance to adapt to the changing times and embrace these technologies in an effective and efficient way. To do this, the current and the future workforce have to prepare for these new times and they require to learn new skills that are needed. As Batra, P. et al. suggest “In many countries, this may require an initiative on the scale of the Marshall Plan, involving sustained investment, new training models, programs to ease worker transitions, income support, and collaboration between the public and private sectors” (2017), this way, automation will bring a positive impact on the human labor. Recommendations to Implement Automation It is crucial to have a network technology that can be the backbone of operations and can help companies to develop automation successfully. This can be done through 5G, which is characterized by its high speed and bandwidth, low latency, and high throughput. Copgemini (2019) supports this idea arguing that 5G is “a key enabler of smart factory initiatives as its features would provide manufacturers the opportunity to introduce or enhance a variety of real-time and highly reliable applications… 5G is also unique in that it offers ‘network slicing,’ allowing the physical spectrum to be split and to be allocated to specific applications” (as cited in Hornyak, 2020). Conclusion Automated technologies are expected to perform more and more tasks in the incoming years. However, this trend would not be a threat to human labors, as long as companies and individuals are able to adapt to this change by developing necessary skills to perform current and new jobs. In order to successfully deploy automation, it is crucial for businesses to master a networking technology such as 5G, which has key features that boost the efficiency and effectiveness to the highest level. Sources Advantages of Automation. (n.d.). RobotWorx. Retrieved from https://www.robots.com/articles/advantages-of-automation Batra, P., Bughin, J., Chui, M., Ko, R., Lund, S., Manyika, Sanghvi, S., & J. Woetzel, J.(2017). Jobs lost, jobs gained: What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages. McKinsey & Company. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/jobs-lost-jobs-gained-what-the-future-of-work-will-mean-for-jobs-skills-and-wages#part1 Bughin, J., Chui, M., Dewhurst, M., George, K., Manyika, J., Miremadi, M., & Willmott, P. (2017). A Future That Works: Automation, Employment, And Productivity. McKinsey & Co. https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/featured%20insights/Digital%20Disruption/Harnessing%20automation%20for%20a%20future%20that%20works/MGI-A-future-that-works-Executive-summary.ashx Harris, S. (2020). The Benefits Of Automation In Today’s Workforce. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/05/01/the-benefits-of-automation-in-todays-workforce/?sh=5f21c2c11cc8 Hornyak, T. (2020). 5G is accelerating factory automation that could add trillions to the global economy. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/11/5g-spurs-factory-automation-could-add-trillions-to-economy.html International Federation of Robotics. (n.d.). Robots Create Jobs! IFR International Federation of Robotics. Retrieved from https://ifr.org/robots-create-jobs
Featured Articles

Industry 4.0 and the Smart Factory

Industry 4.0 and the Smart Factory Introduction The term “Industry 4.0” refers to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a concept that has been gaining popularity in recent times. This revolution is characterized by the integration of the physical, digital and biological worlds in the current industries, which can be benefited from it. Because of the technologies involved in the Industry 4.0, the development of a Smart Factory can be possible, and a number of benefits can be unlocked by the implementation of it, from the first small step and then scaling up. The Fourth Industrial Revolution Image retrieved from MathWorks This revolution is the most recent Industrial Revolution, and it describes the integration of the physical, digital and biological worlds. Some of the technologies included are artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), additive manufacturing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, to name a few. Benefits The technologies from Industry 4.0 are disrupting a number of industries and they have great potential and benefits for the long term: productivity and flexibility will increase,costs of transportation and communication will fall, and the cost of trade will diminish. Bernard Marr complements this explaining that the technologies can “connect billions of more people to the web, drastically improve the efficiency of business and organisations and help regenerate the natural environment through better asset management, potentially even undoing all the damage previous industrial revolutions have caused” (n.d.). In consequence, all of these outcomes will open new markets in the world and drive economic growth. The Role of 5G In order to execute the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is crucial to have a reliable and good connection in order to ensure the wireless control of machines. Here, 5G has an important role, enabling the integration and communication between the robots and systems from the area. This technology is characterized for its low latency, high reliability, high throughput, and high speed, features that are key to providing a safe and efficient operation. In addition, 5G’s high connection density allows industries to connect a greater number of devices in the area. Finally, 5G is more flexible than other wired networking systems, which makes it easy for companies to move their machinery, connect self-driving vehicles, etc. Smart Factories The technologies involved in the Industry 4.0 will contribute to the development of Smart Factories: a place where machines have an insight into the production chain and are able to learn from new conditions and self-adapt to them, perform and make decisions on their own, etc. Through the application of a Smart Factory, companies may achieve a higher asset efficiency, a better product quality, lower costs, and increased safety and sustainability. According to the research by Burke et al. for Deloitte, the Smart Factory has five key characteristics: connected, optimized, transparent, proactive, and agile. The authors explained how these characteristics favor “greater visibility across their assets and systems, and allow them to navigate some of the challenges faced by more traditional factory structures, ultimately leading to improved productivity and greater responsiveness to fluctuations in supplier and customer conditions” (n.d.) Implementing the Smart Factory It is recommended that the implementation of a Smart Factory has to start small and then scale, which means that companies should first focus on the maximization of the activities of a single asset, and then improve the production line, followed by the optimization of the performance of a single plant, and then finalize by maximizing the factory network operations by integrating the entire supply chain and product development cycle. In the era of Industry 4.0, it is of great importance to have a networking system that is reliable and suitable for the tasks the machines need to conduct. Therefore, the implementation of 5G technology is highly recommended, as 5G would enable enterprises to implement the Smart Factory optimally and technologies to work in a more reliable, efficient, flexible, and safe way. Sources Burke, R., Hartigan, M., Laaper, S., Mussomeli, A. & Sniderman, B. (n.d.). The Smart Factory. Responsive, Adaptive, Connected Manufacturing. Deloitte University Press. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/insights/us/articles/4051_The-smart-factory/DUP_The-smart-factory.pdf Chow, W., Geissbauer, R., Khurana, A., Meakin, R., Niebuhr, J. & Pillsbury, S. (n.d.). 5G in Manufacturing. PWC. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/tmt/5g/pwc-5G-in-manufacturing.pdf Four Industrial Revolutions. (n.d.). [Photograph]. MathWorks. https://ww2.mathworks.cn/en/discovery/industry-4-0.html IED. (2019, June 30). The 4 Industrial Revolutions. Institute of Entrepreneurship Development. https://ied.eu/project-updates/the-4-industrial-revolutions/ Marr, B. (2018, September 2). What is Industry 4.0? Here’s A Super Easy Explanation For Anyone. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/09/02/what-is-industry-4-0-heres-a-super-easy-explanation-for-anyone/?sh=415defd39788 Marr, B. (n.d.). Why Everyone Must Get Ready For the 4th Industrial Revolution. Bernard Marr & Co. Retrieved August 13, 2021, from https://bernardmarr.com/why-everyone-must-get-ready-for-4th-industrial-revolution/ Sorensen, P. (2021, May 14). What Is the Fourth Industrial Revolution? The 360 Blog from Salesforce. https://www.salesforce.com/blog/what-is-the-fourth-industrial-revolution-4ir/ About eSIX Limited eSIX is an edge computing technology company that provides a high-speed network for industries, enterprises, and internet service providers. It was founded in 2017 by a team of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, data scientists, network engineers, etc., that aim to remove the barriers of global networks. They strive to connect everything, everyone in everywhere effortlessly with their cutting-edge networking technologies, assuring an effective and easy-to-deploy solution for their users. For more information please see: www.esix.co Contact us: Kinson Chan +852 6288 7788 info@esix.co
Featured Articles

Connectivity for Enterprises

Connectivity for Enterprises In an increasingly globalized and fast-paced world, it is of great importance for enterprises to possess a safe, quick, and efficient network that allows them to keep up with it to perform at their best. A secure network will also lower operating costs. Just imagine 7-Eleven and all the connected branches: they need to verify there is smooth communication between the headquarters and the branches (as shown in the hub and spoke model), which may vary in different regions, cities, and countries. Even though we have already had technologies connecting us, these traditional might have some limitations and affect the connectivity. Therefore, it is vital for an enterprise to utilize better technologies. In this article, we present and compare three alternatives that provide better networks for enterprises. First, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), a system that is a reliable, flexible, scalable, and efficient way of connecting real-time applications. Despite these benefits, MPLS is very expensive and takes a long time to deploy. In addition, since the service provider is in charge of constructing the network and setting up every single one of the devices, the enterprise will lose some control over MPLS and they will depend largely on the provider. Second, SD-WAN, a virtual infrastructure. It is a better, cheaper, and more flexible alternative compared to MPLS. It also provides network independence, however, it is important to have people in the department who know how to manage this software. On the other hand, this software is not able to identify between the branches’ network (it gives the same default IP address to all of them), which makes the communication between devices disabled until an engineer solves this problem. Also, even though the deployment time is shorter than the MPLS, it still takes a long time and great effort. Third, ecWAN, which is better than the previous ones. In the first place, ecWAN is a software that is installed in the existing infrastructure that solves the issues that SD-WAN has. It “translates” the IP addresses, giving each router a unique virtual identity that distinguishes it from others, in other words, it unifies management in a clearer way. ecWAN creates an overlay network to bridge branches from office networks in other regions; with this technology, distance is not an obstacle and connectivity will be as if the branches were in the neighborhood. Secondly, the deployment time of this alternative is considerably shorter and simpler, and requires less work. Besides this, ecWAN transfers more data in less time and it sets priorities to different subnets to assure the best quality of service (QoS).
Featured Articles

What is Industrial 5G

What is Industrial 5G 5G is becoming increasingly popular, not only for personal use, but also for industrial purposes due to its ability to carry mass data and be highly responsive. Companies combine 5G with other technologies (like AI or Big Data) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations, transforming their industries to the #industry40. 5G is the future of industrial operations. It provides comprehensive connectivity, low latency, and high bandwidth. 5G is not only faster and more flexible than wired-connection, but it can also improve work efficiency, ensure the safety of the workers, optimize logistics scheduling and distribution, reduce cost of production line reconfiguration, increase system reliability, to name a few. According to the article 5G in Manufacturing by PwC, the intelligent systems of industrial 5G allow product optimisation, modular factory, enterprise connectivity, human-machine interface, supply chain integration, preventive maintenance, and safety. To know some examples of uses of Industrial 5G, check our success stories: 1. High resolution data transmission and real-time video: A Connected Fully Equipped Ambulance Controlled and Operated by Remote Center over 5G Network for Defence Innovation: https://esix.co/success-stories/a-5g-connected-fully-equipped-ambulance-controlled-and-operated-by-remote-center/ 2. Bidirectional control and centralized management: Break Through the Possibilities for Mobility Supervisor Control in Ultra-High Speed Network in Tianjin Port: https://esix.co/success-stories/break-through-the-possibilities-for-mobility-supervisor-control-in-ultra-high-speed-network/ If you would like to know about the Three Main Features of 5G, click here to check: https://esix.co/featured-articles/what-are-the-three-main-features-of-5g/ Source: https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/tmt/5g/pwc-5G-in-manufacturing.pdf
Featured Articles

What are the Three Main Features of 5G

What are the Three Main Features of 5G The Superfast fifth-generation, or 5G, ushers in a new era of wireless networking, connecting everyone and everything, everywhere better. It has ultra-low latency, larger data rates, higher reliability and network availability. 5G has three main features that makes this technology so special: eMBB, URLCC, and mMTC. First, eMBB (or enhanced Mobile Broadband) allows a higher data bandwidth, in other words, it provides a high number of data being transferred rapidly. This feature is mainly used in mobile devices, for instance, to develop AR/VR applications, streaming sports games or concerts, download high-resolution videos, or play online games. It is also being used in industrial scenarios, for instance, to develop 3D models or to implement automated inspections (as AOI). Second, the URLLC (or Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications) provides a high probability of delivering data successfully within a certain period of time. Indeed, the latency of 5G is 1-10 milliseconds and it has a 99.99% reliability. A popular implementation of this important feature is the development of critical autonomous machinery or highly reliable self-driving vehicles. Finally, mMTC (or massive Machine Type Communications) supplies connectivity to an enormous number of IoT devices, allowing multiple devices to send and receive data from a single 5G base station. This feature is commonly used in smart cities, homes, factories, or even in smart agriculture. Sources https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/tmt/5g/pwc-5G-in-manufacturing.pdf https://www.3gpp.org/news-events/1774-5g_wiseharbour