Bring-Your-Own-Networks for Industrial Communications

By Nanda Menon, Director – Corporate Development, Athonet srl

The Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 promises to bring in a new age which will transform manufacturing, work and society at large. A study by the WEF and McKinsey forecast its impact as much as US$ 3.7 trillion in value by 2025 alone.[i]

However, this great industrial and economic transformation is crawling to a halt due to a lack of reliable connectivity. For example, the agile factory of Industry 4.0 will see production robots which glide anywhere across the factory floor to reconfigure production lines for real time manufacturing of different kinds of products. The entire production line could reconfigure from making a luxury electric sedan at one instant to a combine-harvester at the next.

This ballet of robots requires not just reliable wireless mobility, but their control systems require guaranteed latency in the 10s of milliseconds in order to function. The jitter in those communications (i.e. the change in communications latency which leads to “hiccups” known to those who watch video streams) can bring entire production lines to a complete standstill.

At the same time, the use of remote video, virtual and augmented reality and other applications are creating throughput and low latency requirements that dwarf anything seen by networks in the past. Intel forecasts that a connected factory will produce 1,000,0000 GB of traffic in a single day.[ii] When compared with the average usage of 5GB a month for the average mobile user, this is the equivalent of a 6-million-person network in just one factory premise!

Traditional macro LTE networks or Wi-Fi simply cannot provide the reliable connectivity and throughput of this quality and a new solution is needed.  Users in industries as diverse as manufacturing, automotive, utilities, mining and oil & gas are hence turning to Private LTE to meet these demands. Private LTE allows mobile operators and end-users to collaboratively Bring-Your-Own-Network for Industrial Communications and usher in a new BYONIC Age for manufacturing.

MulteFire unlocks Private LTE

While Private LTE has been the solution of choice for demanding industrial applications from the earliest days of LTE networks, its challenge has been the lack of dedicated spectrum to deploy upon. For example, Enel, one of the largest energy utilities in the world, deployed the world’s first LTE smartgrid, and the first Private LTE Network on mobile operator spectrum with mobile operator Hutchison 3G as early as 2011. Since then Private LTE networks have seen proven deployments in manufacturing plants, oil & gas, the mining industry and public safety. For now, these have been isolated deployments and the challenge has been how to deploy the large numbers required for Industry 4.0 given the competing demands on mobile operator’s licensed spectrum.

Cue MulteFire™ – A New Way to Wireless.  MulteFire now allows mobile operators and end-users to deploy private LTE networks on a dedicated band for Industrial applications. Live deployments have already begun in Japan on 1.9 GHz with the rest of the world to follow on 5 GHz, Wi-Fi channels. With MulteFire, Mobile operators, End-users and their system integrators can now spin-up private LTE on demand, finally making the same sophisticated LTE technology used by mobile operators widely available for Industry 4.0.

Be BYONIC with MulteFire!

With MulteFire, the choreographers of Industry 4.0 can once again return to their work at the robot ballet and its numerous other applications. Whilst MulteFire uses the same sophisticated technology as mobile operators, the MulteFire ecosystem has simplified the user experience so that so that networks can be deployed and managed by IT departments while still integrating with the mobile operator network for more advanced capabilities – Bring-Your-Own-Networks for Industrial Communications. This is particularly true in the area of the mobile core network which is the “brain” of any mobile network and whose cost and complexity has been a barrier to adoption. New fully softwarised core network solutions now allow enterprises to benefit from “one-click” deploy solutions that bring the best of cloud and best of edge deployments in a simple and affordable way.


Athonet is presenting at MWC Americas, 12-14th Sept 2018 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Please join our CEO, Karim El Malki, and Robin Harwani, Global Telecoms Partner Solutions Lead at AWS, at the IoT Talks theatre at 4.30 pm for a discussion on “Industrial IoT – How to Deliver High Performance Connectivity with Private LTE”. They will address how MulteFire can be deployed as a private LTE network.

Visit the MulteFire Alliance booth at MWC Americas at Stand W.1202 in the West Hall to see technology demonstrations and learn more about membership benefits.


[ii] Intel Presentation: