Wi-SUN FAN is an ideal solution for smart metering, advanced metering infrastructure, power generation, and distribution, as well as street lighting, large scale smart city infrastructure, and other industrial IoT applications. Silicon Labs has decided to strengthen our commitment to this excellent LPWAN protocol and the Wi-SUN Alliance. The alliance is a growing non-profit ecosystem of member companies whose mission is to deliver seamless connectivity via Smart Ubiquitous IoT Network applications using open global standards from organizations, such as IEEE802, IETF, TIA, TTC, and ETSI.
It is my pleasure to take a seat on the Wi-Sun Alliance board of directors on behalf of Silicon Labs to help advance this increasingly popular industrial IoT mesh networking standard. Wi-SUN offers significant advantages versus other LPWAN standards due to its scalability and multi-vendor interoperability. It also enables developers to extend wireless networks used by the utility, smart city infrastructure, and industrial IoT applications to cover deployments spanning miles and kilometers of distance.
I had a chance to talk with Wi-SUN Alliance President and CEO Phil Beecher about Wi-SUN and get his thoughts on a variety of issues. Silicon Labs is a leading provider of industrial IoT solutions, and we believe that Wi-SUN will play an increasingly important role in our portfolio.
Silicon Labs Senior Manager Abhijit Grewal, now a Wi-SUN Alliance Board Member, discusses the technical merits of the Wi-SUN protocol and how Silicon Labs will further the industrial IoT ecosystem.
AG: What is the core mission of the Wi-SUN Alliance, and what are the main activities the alliance is engaged in to achieve your key goals?
PB: The Wi-SUN Alliance’s mission is to drive the global proliferation of secure, interoperable wireless solutions for use in smart cities, smart utility networks, and other IoT applications using open global standards and supported by a rigorous testing and certification program.
AG: What qualities differentiate the Wi-SUN LPWAN standard from other LPWAN standards?
PB: The Wi-SUN Field Area Network (FAN) specification defines everything needed to create secure, reliable, and resilient networks for large scale outdoor applications such as smart utility and smart city networks.
The commercial benefits of Wi-SUN FAN derive from the use of open standards, lowering total costs, and increasing return on investment by providing interoperability, vendor neutrality, flexibility, a greater number of options, and reducing risks through a global ecosystem of member companies and vendors.
Wi-SUN FAN has numerous technical benefits over other LPWAN solutions, including superior coverage and resilience through mesh networking, better interference mitigation through frequency hopping, and enterprise-grade security already proven at a very large scale. One can think of Wi-SUN FAN as a true Internet-like infrastructure optimized for IoT devices.
AG: Silicon Labs is now a Promoter Member of the Wi-SUN Alliance and a member of the Board of Directors. How do you think Silicon Labs can help make an impact on accelerating the adoption of Wi-SUN in smart industrial IoT?
PB: Silicon Labs joins an impressive list of Wi-SUN Alliance Promoter Member companies, and further strengthens the representation of silicon innovators in the alliance. Silicon Labs is a leader in wireless IoT connectivity and has a diverse range of products supporting a wide range of IoT applications. It is particularly good to have Silicon Labs promoting Wi-SUN FAN as the leading large-scale IoT networking technology.
AG: What parts of the world are furthest along in Wi-SUN deployment, and where is there room for growth?
PB: Wi-SUN FAN compatible devices are already extensively deployed in North America and Japan, with deployments growing in LATAM, EMEA, and APAC countries. Wi-SUN FAN is particularly well suited to dense urban networks, so we foresee increased growth in major cities in India, China, and South East Asia for utility and smart city applications. In addition, the ease of configuration and maintenance makes Wi-SUN FAN suitable for rural applications, including smart agriculture.
Ross Sabolcik, Vice President and General Manager of Silicon Labs’ Industrial and Commercial IoT products, shares his thoughts on the company’s leadership in Smart City and why Wi-SUN is a field-proven protocol for mission-critical applications.
AG: What are the fastest-growing types of Wi-SUN deployments you are seeing, and what are the biggest Wi-SUN related market opportunities you think companies like Silicon Labs are positioned to capitalize on?
PB: Wi-SUN Alliance’s origins were in smart utility Network applications such as smart metering and distribution-related applications. However, Wi-SUN FAN provides an ideal communications infrastructure for smart city applications such as street lighting, smart parking, waste management, air quality sensors, and so forth. Installing Wi-SUN FAN as a communications network for street lights provides ubiquitous coverage for connection of a wide range of line powered and battery-powered sensors for monitoring and controlling an urban environment.