A New Spark for TSN? Avnu Alliance Releases Wireless TSN White Paper

Remember when Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) had so much buzz? For a couple of years at Hannover Messe, there were displays, test boards, promotions. I wrote a quick paper on the value of TSN along with OPC UA. Companies such as B+R Automation were pushing it. Then, nothing. A couple of key pieces of the standard became hung up in committee. Pieces are out there, but the buzz has left in search of another candidate.

Meanwhile, Avnu Alliance, the industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, has not given up hope and is looking into a wireless implementation of TSN. It has announced the availability of a new white paper and the creation of an Avnu working group to support further work on extending TSN capabilities to wireless.

Recent advances in 5G and IEEE 802.11 wireless connectivity technologies in providing low-latency and high reliability communications have generated significant industry interest in extending TSN capabilities over wireless. As TSN-enabled devices and networks continue to be deployed across a broad range of market verticals – industrial and robotics, and pro AV, for example, enabling extensions of similar capabilities over wireless is a natural next step. The workgroup discussions have highlighted that it is important to start discussions on topics such as consistent interoperability testing, certification efforts and other ecosystem needs that will need to be addressed to provide time sensitive network services across physical layers and fit to industries. As in the past, Avnu will look to cooperate with multiple standards bodies and other alliances to enable this.

The white paper, Wireless TSN – Definitions, Use Cases & Standards Roadmap, includes examination of existing standards, the potential standards gaps that must be addressed before widespread Wireless TSN implementation, potential use-cases of wireless TSN in different environments and markets, and an overview of the work needed within Avnu and industry to enable TSN capabilities across wireless and wired networks in the future.

Early members of the working group and authors of the white paper include representatives from Intel, Keysight Technologies, General Electric, and professional AV manufacturer, L-Acoustics.

HPE and Industry Partners Simplify 5G Rollout

5G network reality draws closer and closer. Unlike other communication technology standards that seem to have hung up in committee, 5G has some momentum. Not say that there aren’t some political headwinds to get beyond before widespread adoption. 5G offers many very interesting applications beyond simply an LTE replacement for mobile phones. I can’t wait to see all of this in action.

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • The Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative is a new open source program that will simplify the management of large-scale geographically distributed physical infrastructure deployments
  • It will help resolve the complexity that telcos face in rolling out 5G networks across thousands of sites equipped with IT infrastructure from multiple vendors and different generations of technology
  • HPE will also launch the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator, a commercially supported version of the open source infrastructure manageability function
  • The Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative eliminates multi-vendor hardware complexity, simplifying end-to-end automation and accelerating technology evolution

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative, a new open source program that will simplify the management of large-scale geographically distributed physical infrastructure deployments. In addition, HPE will introduce an enterprise offering, the HPE Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator that is aligned with the initiative.

Open Distributed Infrastructure Management helps resolve the complexity that telcos face in rolling out 5G networks across thousands of sites equipped with IT infrastructure from multiple vendors and different generations of technology. This new initiative underlines HPE’s continued leadership in open 5G technologies and commitment to accelerating industry alignment through open source innovation.

Working with partners, HPE’s 5G portfolio promises to unleash the potential of 5G at the network core, at the edge, and in the enterprise. This initiative is being launched in collaboration with Intel and with support from key industry leaders including AMI, Apstra, Red Hat, Tech Mahindra and World Wide Technology. HPE alongside Intel plans to initiate an open source project under the Linux Foundation to further develop the initiative in conjunction with ecosystem partners to enable end-to-end automated management of networks. HPE is committed to developing and fostering the ecosystem and supporting customers by contributing infrastructure manageability code to the open source community.

5G represents a huge shift in the way mobile networks are built. Previous generation networks were largely built on proprietary systems, but 5G standards have been designed to utilize open software platforms operating on commercial off-the-shelf servers. The trend towards open distributed technologies like virtualized radio access networks (vRAN), multi-access edge computing (MEC) and cloud-native network functions will require the deployment of industry standard compute, storage and networking infrastructure from multiple vendors across potentially thousands of geographically distributed locations. Today, most data center physical infrastructure management solutions do not scale geographically or support multi-vendor deployments, resulting in operational inefficiencies and inhibiting technology innovation.

The Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative simplifies network management and drives significant operational and financial benefits. It supports large scale, geographically distributed networks and facilitates interaction between disparate multi-vendor infrastructure resources. The HPE Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator models infrastructure elements in every site to simplify infrastructure automation across resources, vendors and geographical locations.

HPE will launch this commercially supported version of the open source infrastructure manageability function along with associated infrastructure-specific plug-in components in Q2 2020. The HPE solution will leverage industry-defined specifications, including DMTF Redfish interfaces, to enable a vendor-neutral approach for managing configuration and operations of compute, storage and networking infrastructure resources across multiple vendors at scale.

“5G and Edge Computing industry initiatives will require large-scale and geographically distributed multi-vendor infrastructure deployments that can only be cost effectively realized with infrastructure-as-code automation,” said Claus Pedersen, VP, Telco Infrastructure Solutions at HPE. “The Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative tackles network scalability challenges and the costs associated with vendor lock-in by enabling multi-vendor infrastructure deployments, the centralized deployment of standards-based fault and configuration management, and the aggregation of resource-specific status information.”

“Infrastructure management and orchestration can benefit from common open source building blocks including APIs and data models,” said Dan Rodriguez, Corporate VP and GM of Intel’s Network Platforms Group. “The ODIM initiative builds upon the work we have done with HPE on top of Redfish and will ultimately help Communications Service Providers and Enterprises discover and unleash the full potential of the underlying technologies in their distributed deployments.”

“This initiative proposes new DMTF Redfish extensions that will provide a path forward for the creation of powerful new software-defined data center paradigms that enable end-to-end network automation, said IDC GVP, Ashish Nadkarni. “This open standards-based initiative offers organizations a way to converge multi-vendor hardware resources under a unified infrastructure management solution, promising to accelerate both 5G rollout and innovation across the industry.”

The HPE Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator offers key innovations that will benefit other telco solutions including the recently announced HPE telco core and edge infrastructure blueprints. Delivered as-a-service with HPE GreenLake, these infrastructure offerings provide telcos with a fast ramp for rolling out 5G service across multiple sites.

With key components of the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative planned for open source release, HPE and key industry leaders are creating an ecosystem that will accelerate technology innovation beyond the telco industry. Telco infrastructure today is unique in terms of its distribution and scale. Deployment of industrial IoT and new levels of automation and distributed data-analysis will over time make the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative relevant for solving similar problems in many other industries and application domains.

As a founding member of the DMTF Redfish open source initiative, HPE is well placed to provide leadership in this space. A recent AvidThink report concluded that there is a need for a standards-based approach to large scale distributed physical infrastructure management. This applies to telco networks, but is also very relevant across many other verticals, including large enterprises with geographically distributed datacenters.

Is the IoT In Danger of Splintering?

Is the IoT In Danger of Splintering?

I picked this news item up from The Economist Espresso app.

For years, technologists have gushed about the promise of the “Internet of Things”, enabling ordinary objects—from kettles to cargo ships—to communicate autonomously with each other. The two essential technologies speeding the IOT’s arrival, inexpensive sensors and super-fast networking kit, are advancing rapidly. Gartner, a research group, predicts that the global number of devices embedded with sensors will leap from 8.4bn in 2017 to 20.4bn in 2020. So is 5G, a telecoms-networking technology superior to today’s 4G mobile networks. But the world’s 5G system could split into two different and potentially incompatible entities. One has been developed by Huawei, a Chinese telecoms-equipment giant, at a cost of $46bn. But some are worried about the company’s links to the Chinese Communist Party. Several countries, led by America, have banned the use of Huawei’s gear in their systems for security reasons. The year 2020 could herald the arrival of the Splinternet of Things.

I daresay that most likely many countries in the world are concerned about the ability of the US government to monitor internet traffic through the technology of American companies. These swords always cut two ways when you take the larger view.

More relevant to this topic, though, could a potential splintering into two 5G systems globally impact IoT?

In the short term from what I can gather interviewing technologists, benefits from 5G will accrue from the ability for private, plant-wide broadband rather than from some global linking of sensors.

Perhaps we are a bit early for journalists’ raising fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Listening to people actually building out the technology, I think we are going to experience much benefit from 5G in the not-to-distant future.

Is the IoT In Danger of Splintering?

First Private Stand-alone Industrial 5G Network

Sander Rotmensen of Siemens automotive test center in Nuremberg, Germany and Yongbin Wei of Qualcomm recently discussed the birth of 5G networks for industrial applications. The occasion concerned the press release announcing implementation of a 5G private industrial network.

We’ve all heard about 5G and worries from a variety of national governments about whether another country is embedding spy firmware in its local company’s products. Personally, I think the worry is both silly and well-founded. Every country that houses a company in the market most likely has intelligence agents trying to do the same thing. (I could go into my university education and acquaintance with a professor with “former” CIA ties, but that goes too far afield.) And all companies will deny any tie.

And…we are going to use 5G because the benefits are great. A benefit everyone mentions is the ability to build private networks for a local facility. The network has very low latency and built-in 5-9s (99.999%) uptime.

And what are some of the use cases we can anticipate? Rotmensen and Wei provided a list of ideas:

  • Mobile equipment (tablets, etc.)
  • Assisted Workers (remote video/audio to experts, etc.)
  • Backhaul depending upon geography
  • Autonomous machines–robots, cobots with communication and low latency
  • Autonomous logistics
  • Edge computing, larger amounts of data with low latency

With the final release of IEEE Time Sensitive Networking still years away, 5G is looking very good. We are on release 15 presently. Release 16 is anticipated in June, 2020. With release 17, the increased capacity would easily handle pretty dense machine-to-machine and IoT applications.

First Private Standalone Industrial 5G Network

Showing the benefits of today’s trend toward cooperation and partnerships, this joint proof-of-concept network will explore the capabilities of 5G standalone networks for industrial applications.

The private 5G standalone (SA) network in a real industrial environment uses the 3.7-3.8GHz band. Both companies have joined forces in this project: Siemens is providing the actual industrial test conditions and end devices such as Simatic control systems and IO devices and Qualcomm is supplying the 5G test network and the relevant test equipment.

The 5G network was installed in Siemens’ Automotive Showroom and Test Center in Nuremberg. Automated guided vehicles are (AGV) displayed here which are primarily used in the automotive industry. New manufacturing options and methods are also developed, tested and presented before they are put into action on customer sites. This allows Siemens’ customers, such as automated guided vehicle manufacturers, to see the products interact live.

The Automotive Showroom and Test Center enables Siemens and Qualcomm to test all the different technologies in a standalone 5G network under actual operating conditions and to come up with solutions for the industrial applications of the future. Qualcomm Technologies installed the 5G test system comprising infrastructure and end devices in less than three weeks. Siemens provided the actual industrial setup including Simatic control systems and IO devices.

“Industrial 5G is the gateway to an all-encompassing, wireless network for production, maintenance, and logistics. High data rates, ultra-reliable transmission, and extremely low latencies will allow significant increases in efficiency and flexibility in industrial added value,” says Eckard Eberle, CEO Process Automation at Siemens. “We are therefore extremely pleased to have this collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies so that we can drive forward the development and technical implementation of private 5G networks in the industrial sector. Our decades of experience in industrial communication and our industry expertise combined with Qualcomm Technologies’ know-how are paving the way for wireless networks in the factory of the future.”

“This project will provide invaluable real-world learnings that both companies can apply to future deployments and marks an important key milestone as 5G moves into industrial automation,” said Enrico Salvatori, Senior Vice President & President, Qualcomm Europe/MEA. “Combining our 5G connectivity capabilities with Siemens’ deep industry know-how will help us deploy technologies, refine solutions, and work to make the smart industrial future a reality.”

The German Federal Network Agency has reserved a total bandwidth of 100 MHz from 3.7 GHz to 3.8 GHz for use on local industrial sites. German companies are thus able to rent part of this bandwidth on an annual basis and to make exclusive use of it on their own operating sites in a private 5G network whilst also providing optimum data protection. Siemens is using this principle to evaluate and test industrial protocols such as OPC UA and Profinet in its Automotive Showroom and Test Center together with wireless communication via 5G.

Honeywell Wireless To Support Next-Gen Cisco Access Points

Honeywell Wireless To Support Next-Gen Cisco Access Points

Suddenly the wireless networking side of IoT connectivity is hitting my radar. Since the culmination of the “wireless wars” of 10 years ago, this technology/market area has settled into supplying usable products. This information came from Honeywell—In short, by supplying ISA100 Wireless and WirelessHART connectivity to Cisco’s next-generation Wi-Fi Access Point, Honeywell’s OneWireless IoT Module can help users increase industrial plant productivity, worker safety, and digital transformation readiness.

Honeywell is developing a OneWireless IoT Module for the next-generation of Cisco’s industrial access points, the Cisco Catalyst IW6300 Heavy Duty Series Access Point. The Honeywell and Cisco technologies will form the backbone of Honeywell’s OneWireless Network.

The joint wireless solution enables Honeywell customers to quickly and easily deploy wireless technologies as an extension of their Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS). Combining the leading IT network technology by from Cisco and the leading Honeywell OneWireless multi-protocol technology provides customers with a single infrastructure that meets all their industrial wireless needs.

“For the past decade, Cisco and Honeywell have worked together to deliver secure, wireless solutions to connect mobile workers and field instrumentation in the most challenging process manufacturing environments,” said Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco IoT. “We’ve had great success in bringing IT and operational teams together to reduce complexity and improve efficiency. Now, we are building on that foundation to extend the power of intent-based networking to the IoT edge.”

When combined with the Honeywell OneWireless IoT Module, the Cisco Catalyst IW6300 Heavy Duty Series Access Point offers the security, speed, and network performance needed to allow the seamless extension of the process control network into the field.

“The OneWireless IoT Module is Honeywell’s latest innovation as a leader in wireless technology,” said Diederik Mols, business director Industrial Wireless, Honeywell Process Solutions. “Our customers will benefit from OneWireless functioning as a seamless extension of Experion PKS and simplified deployment made possible by integrating the IoT module and aerials into a single unit.”

Is the IoT In Danger of Splintering?

Have Fieldbuses Peaked?

I have watched the activity of growth and maturity of fieldbuses for many years. The promise of interoperability and many other benefits with Profibus, Foundation Fieldbus, DeviceNet, and the like were written and discussed in all the journals and conferences.

But Ethernet became widely adopted more than 10 years ago. Profibus developed Profinet. ODVA moved its protocol to Ethernet dubbed EtherNet/IP just to confuse everyone in the market and (I suppose) hoped to pick up a few unsuspecting customers. Many companies were interested in the benefits of Ethernet without the protocols and/or firmware of the majors. It really seemed to take over the world.

I spotted a press release from HMS Industrial Networks citing a study that charts industrial network market shares for 2019. I lost the release in my inbox, but I picked it up in Control Global after seeing a newsletter.

This is essentially the HMS press release as found at Control Global.

Industrial networks are linking more equipment than ever, which is why newly connected nodes are expected to increase by 10% this year, according to a recent study, “Market shares 2019—fieldbus, industrial Ethernet and wireless,” by HMS Industrial Networks. The annual study also found that industrial Ethernet and wireless will continue to grow quickly in 2019, but it will also be the first year that fieldbuses decrease.

In 2018, HMS reported that industrial Ethernet had surpassed traditional fieldbuses for the first time, and this trend continues in 2019. With a steady growth rate of 20%, industrial Ethernet makes up 59% of the global market in 2019, compared to 52% in 2018. EtherNet/IP is the largest industrial Ethernet network with 15% of the market, while Profinet has almost closed the gap and is now at 14%. Ethernet runners-up globally are EtherCAT at 7%, Ethernet Powerlink at 5%, and Modbus-TCP at 4%, all of which are showing stable growth.

Meanwhile, for the first time ever, fieldbuses are declining by -5% in 2019, compared to 6% growth last year, and now account for 35% of new installed nodes. The dominant fieldbus is still Profibus with 10% of the total world market, followed by CC-Link at 6% and Modbus-RTU at 5%.

The transition to industrial Ethernet continues and is driven by the need for high performance and the need for integration between factory installations and IT-systems/IIoT applications,” says Anders Hansson, chief marketing officer at HMS. “For the first time, we’re seeing traditional fieldbuses are declining in new installed nodes. When it comes to industrial Ethernet, we see good growth for many networks. For the established Ethernet/IP, Profinet, EtherCAT, Powerlink and Modbus-TCP, as well as for the networks grouped in the ‘other Ethernet’ category. This fragmented Ethernet picture is very interesting, and it goes to prove that industrial Ethernet never standardized on one network as many predicted when the Ethernet-based networks first evolved in the 1990s. Just like the fieldbuses, the various Ethernet networks serve different purposes depending on industrial application.”

In addition, wireless technologies are also growing steadily by 30% in 2019, and account for 6% of the total market. Within the wireless category, wireless local area networks (WLAN) are the most popular technology, followed by Bluetooth. “Wireless is increasingly being used by machine builders and system integrators to realize new, innovative automation architectures. Users can reduce cabling and create new solutions for connectivity and control,” adds Hansson. “We also see increased activities globally around cellular technologies, such as private LTE/5G networks, as enablers for smart and flexible manufacturing in factories.”

Finally, HMS reports that in Europe and the Middle East, EtherNet/IP and Profinet are leading and Profinet is still widely used, while other popular networks are EtherCAT and Ethernet Powerlink. Meanwhile, the U.S. market is dominated by the CIP-based networks with a clear movement towards EtherNet/IP, while EtherCAT continues to gain market share. In Asia, no individual network stands out as market-leading, but Profinet, EtherNet/IP, Profibus, EtherCAT, Modbus and CC-Link are widely used, with the Ethernet version of CC-Link, CC-Link IE Field, also gaining ground.