First phase of Wi-Fi 6 industry trials a success 

The first phase of the world’s first Wi-Fi 6 industrial trial has been successfully completed at Mettis Aerospace in conjunction with the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA). We use the current generation of Wi-Fi across our office areas and the trial of the next generation, Wi-Fi 6, is set to enable us to make even the most challenging of our production areas wireless too.

“The Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure installed as part of the trials has exceeded our expectations in terms of performance, reliable connectivity and consistent coverage across the target area,” said Dave Green, our head of IT. “We are seeing immediate benefits in terms of the data we’re now able to collect and use. Moving forward, we will be able to vastly increase the data we collect from devices across our business, enhancing our manufacturing processes, reducing variability and increasing productivity.”

During the first phase of the trial, the Wi-Fi 6 technology had to prove it was able to provide total connectivity across the factory floor and enable improved synchronisation of machinery and equipment with centralised monitoring and control systems. This required the Wi-Fi network to deliver real-time high bandwidth communications, with very low latency and clear prioritisation of data across a large-scale, complex factory environment.

Tests included applications of 4K video streaming, large scale file transfers, messaging and voice/video communications as well as the first stage of sensor and mixed reality testing.

During the trial, speeds of 700 Mbps using 80 MHz channels were achieved and low latency applications, like video calling and video streaming, performed well with results below 6ms. These results prove that Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure can operate well in the presence of interference and noise in a complex factory environment as well as deliver high-quality services for monitoring and maximising machinery performance, minimising downtime and enhancing communications.

“The completion of this initial phase marks a significant milestone for the adoption of Wi-Fi 6,” said WBA CEO, Tiago Rodrigues. “The Mettis facility is an especially challenging environment for wireless communications with furnaces, presses and heat, a lot of moving heavy machinery and the presence of dust and in-air particulates. Nevertheless, the field tests in this highly charged atmosphere have proven that Wi-Fi 6 technology works well and can play a vital role within the industrial enterprise and IoT ecosystem. If Wi-Fi 6 can deliver highly reliable, high quality and high bandwidth communications in this type of factory environment, then it can deliver it almost anywhere.”

The trial is being carried out in collaboration with WBA member companies including Broadcom, Cisco, iBwave and Intel as well as Concurrent Engineering and Keysight. It is an important part of the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s test and development programme and forms a key step in our ongoing commitment to transforming Mettis into a digital factory.

Find out more about the trial on the WBA website here.

aerospace forging, forging, machining Wi-Fi 6

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