On Sept. 4th Lisa Underberg, TU Dortmund/Germany, gave a high quality presentation about challenges and chances of hybrid wired-wireless networks in industrial applications. She pointed out that use cases lay base for requirements in factory communication to tackle realistic problems considering the factory floor. This event was jointly organized by the IEEE Austrian Joint COM/MTT Chapter, JKU and Silicon Austria Labs.
Wireless communication networks will facilitate current and enable future industrial applications, if interoperability issues are overcome and full flexibility is accessible. However, the currently employed wired networks, especially in demanding factory automation applications, are rigid in their communication protocol and their physical structure. Moreover, they will not be completely replaced by a more flexible and retrofittable wireless network in the near future. In order to support the deployment of wireless communication networks, hybrid wired-wireless networks have to be developed. Here, the cooperation of wired and wireless network has to be efficient to fulfill the challenging industrial requirements and maintain the wired network's performance.
The talk gave an overview on industrial requirements by reviewing industrial applications and identifying the relevant properties of state of the art industrial networks. Based on this overview, a generic hybrid wired-wireless network topology was discussed. Since state-of-the-art wireless networks are not suitable to fulfil the applications' requirements, the basics of a promising new physical layer (PHY) approach were presented: parallel sequence spread spectrum (PSSS). The PSSS PHY offers a great flexibility to resource sharing, which is especially attractive to industrial communication networks. Finally, the German ParSec project (https://www.parsec-projekt.de) was shortly introduced as it focusses on the implementation of such a hybrid wired-wireless communication network.
Lisa Underberg received the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from TU Dortmund University, Dortmund, Germany, in 2013. She is currently working towards the Ph.D. degree. Since 2013, she has been with the Communication Technology Institute, TU Dortmund University. Her research interests include wireless industrial communication focusing on reliable physical layer and low latency medium access concepts. Furthermore, she received the 1st Prize of the National IHP Award for her master’s thesis in 2013.