Antenna Solutions: Wirelessly Connecting the Industry

The popularity of wireless connectivity and the exponential growth of the 5G communication network means that antennas are part of everyday design. Enabled by this technology, the Internet of Things or IoT is the global network of machines that communicate with each other via the internet.

The Internet of Things is now impacting a huge range of devices that are utilized in many aspects of life – most of our familiarity with this technology is around the home. Everyday household appliances are now equipped to share data with each other and to enable control by the homeowner using a smartphone.

But the greatest potential for IoT-enabled devices is found outside the home. With the rollout of 5G technology, the IoT has found applications in almost every industry, from agriculture to medical care. And it’s therefore critical that the latest generation of connected devices are designed to deliver faster and more efficient services that uniquely address this diverse set of applications.

The automotive industry has been quick to take advantage of high-speed communication. The modern family car is filled with technology, from the simplest in-car stereo to the most sophisticated navigation system. Drivers and operators now have access to a huge range of features, many of which require connection to the outside world. As the need for more communication grows, existing methods for providing connectivity within the vehicle have proven they are unable to deliver the performance required by the latest technology. To deliver this huge increase in functionality, vehicle design must make these connections in distinctly different ways. This means as a result of new design concepts such as zonal architecture, antennas will play an enormous role in automotive design.

Wireless connectivity is already being used for many tasks, both inside the vehicle and out. Within the car itself, the most important connection will be between the driver’s personal devices and the car itself. This takes the form of short-range Bluetooth, or more recently, WiFi technology.

This new in-car connectivity has created the “third living space” concept, in which devices enhance the user’s experience like the home or the office. Beyond the passenger cabin, there will also be several other short-range wireless connections, some of which are already in regular use today, such as tire pressure sensors. The integration of these devices into a wireless network will further reduce the need for physical cables and connectors.

The Outside World

Vehicles will also communicate with each other, sharing huge amounts of information wirelessly. For the first time, cars will form part of a dynamic network in which information is shared with other road users and even traffic control infrastructure to make travel safer and more efficient. Known as vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication, this technology requires cars to be equipped with antennas that deliver the greatest possible bandwidth.

The connections between the car and the outside world will play a huge role in how we use cars in the future. The integration of the car into the Internet of Things (IoT) will require connection over the latest high-speed 5G network, and the use of the latest satellite navigation systems will see cars using global positioning and global navigation satellite systems (GPS and GNSS). Whether short range or long range, high-speed or low, the key to all these communication systems will be antenna systems.

The Smart Factory

Designers in the industrial world share many challenges with vehicle manufacturers. Industrial automation forms an integral role in the modern production line. Whether simple motors or complex robots, manufacturing equipment can take advantage of the latest technology to reduce the need for human input. This automation equipment has become even more important in the new smart factory.

In contrast to traditional factories, the smart factory employs connected devices. The IoT creates a manufacturing environment in which industrial automation shares information with the factory network. This two-way communication between devices provides flexibility for the manufacturer, allowing the user to respond quickly to changes in demand.

Using wireless communication, the factory space can be reconfigured to create alternative processes. Manufacturers are even installing private 5G networks inside their facility to create a bespoke network in which each element is integrated into the smart factory. This is further enhanced with autonomous robots that navigate safely around the factory using data from their own sensors and information shared via the wireless network. These machines depend on antennas.

Molex Antenna Solutions

Molex is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of antenna technology. Molex and Arrow together offer the technical expertise, industry experience and global footprint to deliver antenna solutions for the most demanding applications.

The latest solutions from Molex include the 7-in-1 hub*, designed with both 5G and WiFi MIMO (Multi-in, Multi-out) antennas to deliver the greatest possible bandwidth for today’s data-hungry applications.

Also available is the new Sunshade 5-in-1 hub that incorporates the same high-speed antennas in a low-profile, easy-to-install housing.

Whatever the requirements, Molex is ready to meet and exceed these demands and help create the wireless connections of the future.

*Multi-Hub 7-in-1 Antenna - stock available from October 2023 on arrow.com

 

WATCH MOLEX’S MULTI-HUB ANTENNAS TECH SNACK VIDEO (YOUTUBE)

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