What is a Wireless Card? And How Does it Work?
Nowadays, almost all industries are benefiting from wireless technologies. Along with the increasing trend of remote mobile devices, IoT, and IIoT, many of these applications are just not achievable by being wired by cable. Here is where wireless technologies take place where they can provide fast internet connectivity and machine-to-machine communications for advanced mobile technologies. Therefore, many industries utilize a wireless connection or wireless network card installed to provide network connectivity for different applications. That being said, this blog will explore more about wireless cards and their impacts on industry 4.0.
What is a wireless card?
A wireless card or wireless network card is a wireless terminal device used to enable internet connection through the wireless connection network under the coverage of a wireless local area network. Therefore, a wireless card installed on an industrial computer is used to enable wireless connectivity to the internet. As a result, with the advent of Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and Edge computing, this wireless card is very much needed to provide seamless connectivity.
How Do Wireless Cards Work?
A wireless network card works by transmitting the data through radio waves frequency wirelessly. Therefore, a wireless network card gets an access point or wireless router that first receives information from the internet through a cabled connection and converts data from a binary form into radio waves at a specific frequency. When the radio frequency is broadcast out, the wireless card built in the industrial computer will receive the radio frequency signal and convert it to the language that the computer understands.
How to Install Wireless Network Card?
Credits: Toshiba, AverMedia
First, choose a suitable connector. Wireless network cards come with different connectors; therefore, it is vital to ensure that the connector is compatible with your computer and operating system. Most wireless network cards plug into mSATA, mPCIe, or M.2 slots for installation. Only if the industrial computers provide these slots will the card be compatible. Therefore, ensure that the card and motherboard have corresponding connections.
Secondly, make sure that the drivers are available to support the wireless network card and the operating system for the industrial computers. For example, C&T provides wireless cards with a wide range of compatibility, such as network cards that support both Windows and Linux operating systems . Additionally, it is also crucial to ensure that the network source and the wireless network card match each other to obtain the full bandwidth and features of the networks.
Thirdly, it is to check if the card supports Bluetooth onboard. Bluetooth is the key component for connecting wireless peripherals and other devices to the computer. Additionally, Bluetooth is available with various versions and is backward compatible, enabling interconnections between different versions.
What Are Various Types of Wireless Card Slots?
Credits: Toshiba, AverMedia
A wireless card can connect to various types of slots, such as the PCIe, mPCIe, mSATA, and M.2. Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) is an industry-standard that provides the attached devices to communicate to the computer through a slot . Small form factor computers with PCIe connection often configure their expansion slots with mPCIe or mini-PCIe designed specifically for space-constraint devices. In addition, there are other small form factor wireless network card slots, the mSATA and M.2. mPCIe and mSATA have the exact same form factor and connector but different connection interface protocols. On the other hand, M.2 is the next generation slotthat replaces mSATA and mPCIe for internal expansion slots. This is because of the M.2 even smaller form factor with comparatively higher transfer speed up to 4GB/s for NVMe interfaces. Here are the use cases of different wireless network slots:
- Wi-Fi Card or Local Area Network (LAN) Cards are network cards that allow computers to connect to wireless networks.
- Bluetooth Card is a USB-based wireless card that allows computers to receive Bluetooth signals wirelessly to connect various devices or sensors.
- A modem Card or SIM Card Slot Card is a wireless card connected to the PCIe to provide a house for Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card provided by a mobile carrier. This enables the computer to access the carrier's network and uses voice and data services.
There are different wireless communication devices like mobiles, cordless telephones, ZigBee wireless technology, GPS, Wi-Fi, satellite television, and wireless computer parts. Some may be wondering what ZigBee is. Zigbee wireless card is a wireless network technology specifically designed for low -cost, low data rate, and low-power consumption wireless personal area networks (WPANs). Zigbee technology is built on IEEE 802.15.4 standard as short-range communication that supports two ways communication between transmitting device and the controllers at 100 meters distance . Therefore, ZigBee wireless card technology is best suited for industrial automation or factory floor automation to provide a close-range network for data communication at a high transfer speed.
What are the Advantages of Wireless Cards?
Wireless networks enable users to access real-time information anytime and anywhere without getting disconnected from the network. Thus, increasing efficiency, mobility, and productivity are not applicable through wired, locally shared network connections.
Shock and Vibration Resistant
Installing a wireless network system reduces cable usage, reduces the possibility of loose cables from their connection, withstands external interruption, and burns the cable. Therefore, wireless network cards utilize swappable cards to withstand high levels of shock and vibration.
Wireless networks allow enhanced and better data communication with a faster transfer of information between users. In addition, it is much easier to update or upgrade the wireless network to meet the new configurations.
Wireless networks are cost-effective since they are cheaper and easier to install. Even though wireless networks may have a higher initial investment, the overall expenses will be lower over time. Since it is a cableless network, no cost is needed to purchase numerous cables .
Wireless networks have a wider reach when compared to wired networks. As a result, it can be easily extended to an area where wired cables are not accessible. In addition, wireless networks can sometimes handle a larger number of users as they are not limited to a specific number of connection ports.
Wireless Network Card in Industrial Applications
As mentioned before, wireless network cards are used to enable internet connection through wireless connection networks under the coverage of a wireless local area network (WLAN). Therefore, this wireless network technology has advantaged many industries, such as:
- Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT)
- Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
- Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) Telematics and Autonomous Vehicles
- Rugged Edge Computing
The 5G Wireless Card Modules
5G is the fifth-generation wireless connectivity with speeds up to 100x faster than 4G LTE. In addition, 5G networks provide unlimited mobile broadband, low latency, and massive machine-to-machine communications. Therefore, businesses, public services, and individual households reap the full benefits of industry 4.0, IoT, and intelligent devices to promote the advancement of real-time intelligent connectivity.
5G support is made possible through a wireless network card design, offering easy plug and play options with a global 5G modem card . In addition, the 5G module is connected through M.2 module onto the PCIe slot for scalable connectivity options in IoT deployments and enable switches between dual SIM slots for multi-carrier redundancy. As a result, this 5G wireless card module allows more comprehensive workload consolidation, responsive automation, and robust machine-to-machine communication capabilities.
High-Performance 5G Industrial Computer | RCO-6000-CFL
The RCO-6000-CFL series is a high-performance industrial computer with a 5G wireless network card that supports the 9th Gen Intel Coffee Lake processor. This industrial computing solution is suitable for heavy computing workloads and lightning-fast speed with the support of a 5G module. Here are the key features of RCO-6000-CFL:
- LGA 1151 socket for 8th/9th Gen. Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3 Processor
- 1x Universal I/O Bracket (LAN, PoE, M12, 10GbE, USB, 5G)
- Triple Independent Display
- 2x Full-size Mini PCIe, 2x SIM Socket
- -25 °C to 70 °C Operating Temperature
C&T is a global solution provider that has been manufacturing and designing industrial computing solutions for various international companies. Our solutions are carefully designed to operate reliably and optimally in the most challenging industrial deployments. C&T helps tailor and provides a wide range of options for customers to match different industrial requirements. As a result, C&T offers our customers the most high-end and robust industrial computers. If you need assistance finding the best industrial computing solutions, don't hesitate to contact us. One of our industrial computing professionals will assist your best display monitor based on your specific needs.