Legacy wireless solutions fall short in terms of the reliability and performance required for mission-critical automated tasks, especially those involving autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs).
Network connectivity in industrial settings was once confined to basic machine-to-machine (M2M) communication used in process automation and control systems. But the arrival of machine-readable device identifiers and cloud computing led to a broader category – the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Labor scarcities and supply chain challenges are driving many companies to make more efficient use of their warehouses. New systems can bring items to workers, who perform the intricate tasks that machines cannot do as reliably or affordably. Other automated systems can boost accuracy, speed, and consistency in the areas of data scanning, box erecting and sealing, pallet stretch-wrapping, and printing and barcode labeling. Legacy wireless solutions fall short in terms of the reliability and performance required for mission-critical automated tasks, especially those involving autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs). These vehicles move products around facilities in a flexible, scalable fashion, reducing labor demand. They automatically pick items up at docks, taking them to put-away stations, providing replenishment moves, and moving items to shipping docks. They’re tireless, focused and rules-abiding. Along with robots, these systems include interconnected machines, actuators, and control systems. Unlike a typical, ad-hoc IoT deployment, an IIoT system like this uses a data analytics-enabled, cloud-based structured network that supports M2M wireless connectivity with stringent latency and reliability requirements within a dynamic, industrial environment. Only private cellular networks can meet these Industry 4.0 demands.
Octasic supplies programmable silicon for IIoT cellular communications that can be used to design access points (APs) and data terminals. Based on a state-of-the-art implementation of the LTE standard, it leverages the performance, capacity, and security of the LTE waveform. The APs create standalone LTE cells that communicate with terminals. They also can create a mesh network for robustness and backhaul uses. The hardware platform for the AP and terminal is frequency-agile: iIt can support any frequency between 400 MHz and 6 GHz, enabling IIoT deployments that need to work in special, legacy, or unlicensed frequency bands. In one example of the kind of IIoT that Octasic powers, a leading-edge fulfillment center built a fleet of custom terminals and 4G wireless base stations that communicate in the unlicensed spectrum 10 times per second. The solution is based on a versatile, high-density, low-power Octasic system on chip (SoC) with up to 24 digital signal processing (DSP) cores, C-programmable DSP, and a host of peripheral interfaces. This innovator is migrating to a new Octasic SoC with even greater capabilities. End users and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can leverage Octasic SoCs and platforms to deliver high-performance 5G/LTE base stations, offering their own differentiating features, while reducing development time, cost, and risk. They also have the option to integrate their own Layer 2/3 stack, or to implement fully custom waveforms using Octasic’s Opus Studio development environment.
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