September 29, 2023

Wired to Wireless Change Management Guide

This project delivered an unbiased guidebook that 1) directs manufacturers on how to implement wireless network architecture in industrial facilities and 2) provides instruction on how to transition existing wired architecture to a 5G wireless network.


Wireless cellular connectivity is a key element of hyper-efficient manufacturing operations, but not all manufacturers have invested in such digital transformation technology. To remain competitive, such investment is crucial.

For instance, it’s vital to have a singular protocol providing connection to all the devices and machinery on a factory floor. And the more industrial and manufacturing firms use common standards for connectivity, the more they eliminate points of friction among robots, systems, and controls connecting mission-critical processes. Smart manufacturing connectivity should enable high mobility, high throughput, and low latency to support increasingly automated production processes.

Proposed Solution

The goal of this guidebook project was to provide recommendations to manufacturers considering the move from wired to wireless. To inform this work and gain valuable insight, MxD and project partners Betacom and ABI Research surveyed more than 100 decision-makers at U.S. automotive, metal/steel, and process manufacturing sites. Key findings are included in this guidebook, offering manufacturers an unparalleled view into strategies for making the best decision on how to support their digital transformation efforts.


The guidebook will make it easier for manufacturers to understand how they can take advantage of 5G and either begin or continue their digital transformation journey. This guidebook will be publicly available for broad industry use, including by the Department of Defense.


The result of this project is a guidebook offering manufacturers neutral options on 5G wireless technology. It includes:
  • Detailed steps on how to transition wired network architecture in industrial facilities to a 5G wireless network.
  • A comprehensive summary of the benefits and risks associated with various architecture and configuration scenarios.
  • A detailed overview of industry and cellular communications concerns related to industrial implementation and information on how manufacturers may address such concerns.
  • A recommendation, based on testing, of top scenarios for industrial applications.