Internet of Things for Industry (iIoT): industrial wireless communications

People (faculty)

Stefano Savazzi,

Umberto Spagnolini,

Vittorio Rampa,

Monica Nicoli



AWE Communications

Politecnico di Milano, DEIB


Saipem S.p.A. (ENI group)



Projects EU

FP7 Dense Cooperative Wireless Cloud Network (DIWINE)


Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are increasingly gaining impact in our day to day lives. They are finding a wide range of applications in various domains, including health-care, assisted and enhanced-living scenarios, industrial and production monitoring, control networks, and many other fields. Next generation WSN technologies are expected to be integrated into the “Internet of Things”, allowing for the global interconnection of heterogeneous smart physical objects with advanced functionalities. Recent advances of microcontroller design and radio technologies have opened the way to an emerging category of network-enabled “smart” wireless sensors (smart-objects) that serve as intelligent agents for being equipped with low-power dedicated high performance microcontrollers and a large memory space. Inspired by biological interactions, the smart-objects establish a distributed “network cloud” to simulate an “artificial intelligence” characterized by self-configuration, adaptation, and self-learning capabilities.

The activity investigates the development of advanced integrated wireless sensor network platforms for communication and control with special focus on critical industrial applications.  Particular focus is on scenarios where the network cloud of smart devices needs to accomplish specified tasks under very stringent delay and physical resource constraints. The application scenarios are illustrated in the following.


Wireless cooperative networks for industrial applications.


The adoption of WSN in an industrial context has lately become a strategic issue for most manufacturing companies. The status of current technology allows the deployment of low power, cost effective network nodes – often in a battery powered configuration – which substitute the traditional wired sensors in a very cost effective way. The opportunity to replace cabling by deploying a network of wireless sensors is therefore becoming of strategic interest to provide the communication infrastructure for the next generation “smart factory”.

Advanced communication and control systems are developed and tested based on IEEE 802.15.4 standard. It is envisaged that the incorporation of the cooperative network paradigm into future system standardization will allow cable-replacing even in tight closed-loop control applications. Cooperative communication enables wireless devices placed at geographically separated locations to act as virtual ensemble of antennas and create a virtual multiple-input-multiple-output (VMIMO) distributed system.












Wireless closed-loop control



Industrial wireless cloud platform for critical process monitoring.


Future industrial process automation systems will be underpinned by wireless communication technology. The use of wireless networks in industrial applications cannot be viewed simply as a cable replacement mechanism: instead, it has the potential to enhance the functionality of the entire system by jointly exploiting massively-interacting communication paradigms and distributed computing. The EU project DIWINE aims at developing a wireless cloud platform that efficiently exploits intelligence at field device side to handle critical data publishing and distributed sensing functions. The cloud system acts as a selfcontained network and it is designed to interact with devices supporting the Time Synchronized Channel Hopping protocol (TSCH) such as the commercial WirelessHART systems (IEC 62591 standard). The cloud platform handles the delivery (publishing) of latency and throughput-critical data by implementing cooperative networking schemes.
















DIWINE demonstrator: industrial wireless cloud platform for critical process monitoring



Deployment and design of Internet-of-Things platforms for oil&gas industry (industrial IoT).


 Large-scale adoption of dense wireless network technologies in industrial plants is mandatorily paired with the development of methods and tools for connectivity prediction and deployment validation. Layout design procedures must be able to certify the quality (or reliability) of network information flow in industrial scenarios characterized by harsh propagation environments. In addition, these must account for possibly coexisting heterogeneous radio access technologies as part of the industrial internet of things (iIoT) paradigm, easily allow postlayout validation steps, and be integrated by industry standard CAD-based planning systems. The goal of the activity is to set the fundamentals for comprehensive industry-standard methods and procedures supporting plant designer during wireless coverage prediction, virtual network deployment and post-layout verification. The proposed methods carry out the prediction of radio signal coverage considering typical industrial environments characterized by highly dense building blockage. They also provide a design framework to properly deploy the wireless infrastructure in interference-limited radio access scenarios. In addition, the model can be effectively used to certify the quality of machine type communication by considering also imperfect descriptions of the network layout. In the pase years the design procedures have been corroborated by experimental measurements in oil refinery sites (Saipem-eni EST refinery, PetroEcuador Esmeraldas refinery) using industry standard IEEE 802.15.4e, ISA IEC 62734 and WirelessHART systems (IEC 62591) operating at 2.4GHz.


























Industrial Internet of Things (iIoT): deployment and design



Selected Publications:

S. Savazzi, U. Spagnolini, L. Goratti, D. Molteni, M. Latva-aho, M. Nicoli ,  “Ultra-Wide Band Sensor Networks in Oil and Gas Explorations,” IEEE Communcations Magazine, vol.51, n.4, pp. 142-153, April 2013


S. Savazzi, V. Rampa, U. Spagnolini “Wireless Cloud Networks for the Factory of Things: connectivity modeling and layout design,” IEEE Internet of Things Journal, (pdf) vol.1, no.2, pp.180-195, April 2014.


S. Savazzi, “Wireless Virtual Multiple Antenna Networks for Critical Process Control: protocols and experiments” International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks, Hindawi Publishing Co. ISSN: 15501477, 2013.


R. Hugo de Souza, S. Savazzi, L. Buss Becker “Network Design and Planning of Wireless Embedded Systems for Industrial Automation,” Design Automation of Embedded Systems, Springer, Open Access link, 2015, doi:10.1007/s10617-015-9162-0


S. Savazzi, S. Guardiano, U. Spagnolini, “Wireless sensor network modeling and deployment challenges in oil and gas refinery plants” International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks, (pdf), Hindawi Publishing Co. ISSN: 15501477, April 2013


J. M. Winter, I. Muller, G. Soatti, S. Savazzi, M. Nicoli, L. B. Becker, J. C. Netto and C. E. Pereira, “Wireless Coexistence and Spectrum Sensing in Industrial Internet of Things: An Experimental Study,” International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks, Hindawi, 2015.


P. Castiglione, S. Savazzi, M. Nicoli, T. Zemen, “Partner selection in indoor-to-outdoor cooperative networks: an experimental study,” IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, Theories and Methods for Advanced Wireless Relays, vol. 31, no. 8, August 2013.


C. Morelli C., M. Nicoli, V. Rampa, U. Spagnolini, “Hidden Markov Models for radio localization in mixed LOS/NLOS conditions,” IEEE Trans. on Signal Processing, Vol. 55, No. 4, pp. 1525-1542, April 2007.


L. Ascorti, S. Savazzi. E. Sisinni, S. Galimberti, “A wireless cloud network platform for critical data publishing in industrial process automation,Proc of IEEE Sensor Applications Symposium (SAS), Catania, Italy, April 2016.


L. Ascorti, S. Savazzi, S. Galimberti, “Cloud-based WirelessHART networking for Critical Industrial Monitoring and Control,” (pdf) Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN 2014), Porto Alegre, Brazil, July 2014.


J. Winter, I. Muller, S. Savazzi, L. Becker, J. C. Netto, C. E. Pereira, “Coexistence issues in Wireless Networks for Factory Automation,” (pdf) Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN 2014), Porto Alegre, Brazil, July 2014.


S. Savazzi, S. Guardiano, U. Spagnolini, “Wireless Critical Process Control in oil and gas refinery plants,” Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Industrial Technology (ICIT 2012), Kos Island, Greece, March 2012.


S. Savazzi, M. Nicoli, M. Riva, “Radio Imaging by Cooperative Wireless Network: localization algorithms and experiments,” Proc. of IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC 2012), Paris, France, April 2012.


M. Spadacini, S. Savazzi, M. Nicoli, S. Nicoli, “Wireless Networks for Smart Surveillance: technologies, protocol designs and experiments,” Proc. of IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC 2012), Workshop on Internet of Things Enabling Technologies, Paris, France, April 2012.


G. Soatti, M. Nicoli, S. Savazzi, U. Spagnolini, “Distributed sensing of interference pattern in Dense Cooperative Wireless Networks,” Proc. of IEEE Int. Conf. on Communications (ICC), London U.K., June 2015.


M. Nicoli, G. Soatti, S. Savazzi, “Distributed estimation of macroscopic channel parameters in dense cooperative wireless networks” (pdf) Proc. of IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC 2014), Istanbul, Turkey, April 2014.