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Developments in M2M comm for industrial automation

Posted: 04 Nov 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless internet? machine to machine? M2M? 6LoWPAN? IIoT?

Consider the oil and gas industry as an example. The industry is typically characterised by its remote and sometimes inaccessible facilities, which makes wireless M2M technology one of the few viable options. Oil and gas operatives can use wireless connectivity to remotely monitor and control the performance of equipment such as tanks, water meters, pumps and valves.

A sea of alternatives
Aside from well-known wireless connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular communication, there are several emerging technologies for manufacturers to choose from.

6LoWPAN Technology (IPv6 over low power wireless personal area networks) is the first wireless network specially designed for use within the Internet of Things. As a new technology, 6LoWPAN uses IPv6 (internet protocol version six).

The majority of today's consumer internet is based on its predecessor IPv4 (internet protocol version four). IPv4 allowed space for around 4.2 billion unique IP addresses, but in 2011 this capacity proved insufficient and IPv4 addresses were exhausted.

In contrast, IPv6 holds space for an incomprehensibly larger number of IP addresses, enough for the internet to grow for decades to come. In a study by Cisco an estimated 50 billion devices will be connected to the IoT by 2020. By using IPv6, 6LoWPAN technology achieves its original aim of enabling even the smallest of devices work within the IoT.

There is no set industry standard for wireless M2M technology, therefore a range of alternatives are available for use across numerous industrial applications. By embracing this technology organisations can benefit from lower power consumption, extended operating range and accurate data collection.

For industry, this combination of M2M technology and wireless connectivity means that organisations can take full advantage of the M2M revolution. I mean, if we can now get Wifi in space, why shouldn't we get it in industry?

About the author
Jonathan Wilkins is the Marketing Director of European Automation.

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