Industrial communication network operators understand that speed is a vital consideration when looking at communications infrastructure.Their networks have transitioned from kilobits to megabits with the wide deployment of video surveillance systems and movement to real time supervisory, control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks. While speed is king for residential and enterprise access markets there are other attributes that must be considered and in many cases are far more important than a singular focus on data rate.
The durability of the equipment is of upmost importance. It doesn’t matter what the data rate is if the equipment is down. This gear is being deployed environments orders of magnitude more demanding than 653 Elm Street. The locations are remote and costly to service; the atmosphere can be caustic and at best the equipment is exposed to environmental extremes. The shock and vibration of heavy equipment in mining and rail industries will cause havoc with electronic equipment if not designed and manufactured with those conditions in mind. Today’s Industrial Communication Network Operators are expecting IP66 or 67 enclosures (International Protection Marking, IEC standard 60529); and if the conditions dictate it ATEX/HAZLOC certification for explosive environments. These are not requirements mentioned by consumers as they shop for broadband access!
Information Assurance is top of mind and continues to grow in importance. Not so long ago encrypting data and control traffic transiting the network was routinely considered unnecessary. Today, use of 256 bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is not unusual; and use of 128 bit AES is table stakes for information assurance. Network Operators now expect full RADIUS support for authentication, advanced password complexity routines, tamper evidence, SYSLOG capabilities for audit control, security splash pages, Role Based Security, independent third-party code reviews and denial of service white hat hacking evaluation. In short order we have transitioned from a very basic level of security to a multi-tiered comprehensive approach looking a variety of attributes; and with that a transition from “encryption” to “Information Assurance”.
Interference tolerance is an additional requirement. Emitters are everywhere these days, and fixed wireless broadband networks are frequently co-located with competing networks and must effectively manage RF interference. The use of network solutions that synchronize at a tower, across a geographic area, or even amongst a federation of competing networks certainly enhances network capacity, spectral efficiency, and directly enables the networks to scale. Most recently, advanced technologies like Dynamic Interference Filtering are being deployed to further enhance performance in high-noise environments.
Taking these aspects and others into consideration led Cambium Networks to develop the recently announced 450i platform specifically for industrial communication network operators. Enveloped in a cozy IP 66/67 housing; incorporating a comprehensive information assurance framework; leveraging Cambium’s industry leading GPS synchronization and groundbreaking dynamic interference filtering; not to mention ATEX/HAZLOC certified models for those exceptional circumstances; the wide-band (4.9 – 5.925 GHz) PTP and PMP platform is sure to please the network operators supporting critical infrastructure networks around the world in the most demanding environments. Almost forgot, the 450i is also one of the most spectrally efficient radios in the industry and will deliver the data rates required. I am looking forward to seeing the photographs and stories of 450i serving the industries that drive the global economy!