Intel and Cisco: Working Together to Enable Wireless Smart Manufacturing

Optimizing wireless communications for the masses

The Wi-Fi ecosystem continues to advance and expand. As predicted by Cisco, 60% of the worldwide data traffic will travel via Wi-Fi within the next two years. What’s more, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently announced new rules for access to the 6 GHz spectrum, unleashing even higher Wi-Fi speeds in the future. With so much traffic relying on robust Wi-Fi networks, it’s imperative to ensure consistent and reliable communication between Wi-Fi enabled devices and access points. That’s why, for more than 15 years, Cisco and Intel have worked together to develop and enable fast, secure, low latency and reliable Wi-Fi communications. Their work benefits customers and end users through close integration, interoperability and testing of the latest technologies. It includes everything from Intel-based client devices to the latest wireless access points. The outcome is more reliable networks that support a higher density of devices and deliver more predictable results. Wi-Fi 6 will be a key technology for the next generation of networking and a cornerstone of wireless connectivity.

Technological harmony

Cisco and Intel continue to work together on rapid prototyping and testing of Wi-Fi 6 solutions. The result of this collaboration  is that Intel Wi-Fi 6 chipsets and Cisco Wi-Fi 6 Access Points (APs) are optimized to connect to each other quickly – and stay connected. Intel is already a proven leader in the Wi-Fi chipset market for laptops, industrial, and healthcare devices. Intel has put in the work and done the testing to make sure that as Wi-Fi 6 rolls out, these devices will work reliably and consistently when connecting to Cisco APs.

Hand in hand, arm in arm

The work between Cisco and Intel isn’t just about chips. It also translates into other collaborative projects. For example, the two companies have recently joined forces to create a human-controlled robotic arm that communicates via ultra-low latency Wi-Fi 6 technology with virtually zero lag.  This arm, which has a number of applications, leverages Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) and high-performance edge compute to ensure seamless reactions to the operator’s commands. The project highlights how Wi-Fi 6 can deliver reliable and real-time remote operation for healthcare and manufacturing. It is a great example of how Wi-Fi systems can be optimized when using proper design and management capabilities.

Real-time, deterministic control is extremely important in autonomous and semi-autonomous robots and vehicles. In the event of a malfunction or departure from programming, a Human Machine Interface (HMI) enables operators to interact with these devices and take over control safely. HMIs need to be reliable and fast to ensure immediate response and action. Cisco and Intel have prototyped, built, and extensively tested communication between wireless networks and HMI systems to guarantee seamless connectivity and communication so that remote manipulation devices can perform with extreme precision.

Wireless connectivity at the heart of digital transformation 

As with the human-controlled robotic arm example, the Industrial IoT (IIoT) market is going through an incredible digital transformation towards fully connected, flexible, and intelligent autonomous systems. This shift is enabling factories and industrial processes to be flexible and re-configurable, reducing  maintenance and operation costs. ABI Research estimates that by 2024, the number of wireless connections in IIOT settings will be about 5 billion and will exceed the number of wired connections. That’s why the work Cisco and Intel are doing together is a critical piece in the transformation of today’s businesses, factories, and industrial systems to enable flexible and wireless connected systems. Looking ahead, Intel and Cisco will continue to innovate and collaborate  wherever and whenever fast, low latency, secure, and reliable wireless communications are needed.

Commitment and dedication drive the Wi-Fi industry 

These are just a few examples of the continued collaborations between the two tech leaders. Cisco and Intel have joint labs in the US, Israel, and India, where they work together to develop and optimize hardware and software. Engineers in these joint labs are building and testing the next generation of wireless that goes beyond Wi-Fi 6 and 6 GHz. For Cisco and Intel, the mission is clear: lead the development of foundational technologies required for next-generation Wi-Fi-based networks and time-sensitive applications.

Interested in seeing the human-robotic arm in action? Check out the demo below!

Tune in for the On Demand CiscoChat on business resiliency with Eric McLaughlin (VP & General Manager Wireless Solutions Group at Intel) and Matt MacPherson (Wireless CTO at Cisco) to learn about how Cisco & Intel are jointly enabling remote workers on WiFi-6.

Format ImagePublished on Categories 6 GHz, Content Creation, Innovation, Technologies for our Lives, Wi-Fi, Wireless
Brian McCarson

About Brian McCarson

Brian McCarson is a Vice President and Senior Principal Engineer at Intel Corporation. He leads the Industrial Solutions Division Systems Engineering and Architecture team within the Internet of Things Group. He has a Master of Science in Materials Science and Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University and is Adjunct Faculty at Arizona State University teaching Materials Science and Manufacturing. Brian specializes in system architectures and systems engineering for IoT, industrial automation and control systems, data visualization, innovative data analytics, multivariate problem solving and artificial intelligence technologies.