Concept: Canadian wireless communications equipment manufacturer Sierra Wireless (Sierra) has developed AirLink RX55 long-term evolution (LTE) cellular router solution to advance networking capabilities for the industrial IoT (IIoT). The solution can securely deliver intelligence at the edge for mission-critical applications on both public and private networks. It is powered by Sierra Wireless’ web-based multi-network router operating system AirLink OS and can enable next-generation networking capabilities for industry 4.0 applications.
Nature of Disruption: AirLink RX55 provides ultra-low power consumption with wide operating voltage making it ideal for solar or battery-powered remote monitoring installations. The router is compact with a built-in rugged design to withstand extreme environments and with edge intelligence capabilities. Its future-proof design enables applications like grid modernization, smart cities, automation, and remote machine and sensor monitoring. The RX55 system offers multi-band, global support offering enhanced private networking coverage in addition to vast public network coverage. The router supports Band 71 and many private networking bands, including citizens broadband radio service (CBRS) Band 48 in the US and private Bands 42 and 43 in Europe. The AirLink RX55 solution includes AirLink Complete, which provides remote management of the solution through a cloud-based management platform AirLink Management System (ALMS), and round-the-clock technical support to quickly and remotely detect, diagnose and troubleshoot issues. Through a new multi-access point name (APN) solution, AirLink OS’s flexible wide-area network (WAN) routing features allow industrial customers to create multiple continuous data connections. This multi-APN enables the division of various traffic types, such as the division of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) traffic from network management traffic. The AirLink RX55 is ideally suited for use in both fixed and mobile industrial applications, including power and water utilities, oil fields, pipelines, mines, agriculture, manufacturing, waste management, private networking, and SCADA applications.
Outlook: Flexible computing technologies that can power a wide range of applications are needed to enable IIoT for a smarter grid. These applications include protocols such as open field message bus (OpenFMB) for messaging and interoperability to lightweight distributed intelligence at the edge. Sierra’s AirLink RX55 offers edge computing capabilities and can run distributed intelligence applications to enable secure device-to-device communications between grid automation and distributed energy resource (DER) systems. The router’s AirLink OS can integrate with the ALMS management platform to manage these features remotely and securely. Moreover, AirLink OS offers end-to-end security features, including multi-layered device-to-cloud protection using special cryptographic keys to link the router to ALMS, a virtual private network (VPN) for secure transit, secure firmware upgrades, and utilization of the Wi-Fi protected access 3 (WPA-3) protocol. Sierra boasts that AirLink RX55 can support advanced network designs and enables new edge applications through container support with centralized remote management services. This makes it ideal for IIoT customers seeking a future-proof solution for connecting remote fixed assets in difficult conditions. Sierra anticipates the commercial launch of the AirLink RX55 LTE cellular router solution in the fourth quarter of 2022.