The importance of communication technologies for automation is increasing. Wireless communication solutions are playing an increasingly important role in this. However, these are currently barely able to meet the ever-increasing demands of industrial applications for safety, reliability, real-time capability and universality.
Modern cellular mobile communications solutions allow for more flexible, scalable, and easier-to-manage networks. This is especially true for Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) wireless technology. NB-IoT is a low energy, high building penetration and range radio technology that provides an innovative solution to the Internet of Things. Low latency and reliability applications in particular can benefit from this.
On this basis, the project develops novel solutions for event-based, flexible and scalable machine-to-machine communication (M2M). These are necessary, for example, for the control and regulation of machines and robots in industry. Despite possible radio wave interference in industrial environments, functionally critical applications must function reliably, using multiple frequency bands and multipath propagation. Moreover, the frequency bands used have only a small bandwidth, so that they can be embedded as flexibly as possible in unused areas of the existing frequency spectrum. An intelligent and distributed antenna system is integrated into the overall system concept in order to be able to ensure the reliability of the radio transmission even over large-scale industrial installations.
The high scalability, i.e. the support of a very large number of devices, requires new methods to separate data and control information. This separation and the design of new access methods allow many devices to communicate simultaneously in industrial production. The methods developed in the project are finally tested both in the laboratory and in two real application scenarios from industrial and process automation. In particular, the scientists also evaluate applications that are common in small and medium-sized enterprises. For example, the technology enables direct cooperation between humans and mobile robots or the use of wireless emergency stop switches.