Asking what’s the best wireless technology is like asking what’s the best pasta shape. Answer: it depends. For pasta, the variable is the sauce—tubes for chunky sauces, strands for oils or creamy sauces. (Source: being Italian, and Bon Apetit.)

For wireless, the best technology depends on your application (tolerance for latency, packet loss, and dropped connection) and assets (where they are and how fast they’re moving). Based on those answers, you might be best off with Wi-Fi, LoRaWAN, public or private LTE, Wi-Fi 6, or 5G where it’s available. Cisco has solutions for all of these options.

But none of the wireless technologies I’ve listed above reliably connects assets on the move to critical applications that can’t tolerate packet loss or latency of more than a few milliseconds. To understand why that’s important, imagine remotely monitoring and controlling moving assets on trains, subways, public transit, mines, or ports. If a few packets drop while you’re checking email, no one notices. In contrast, dropped packets when you’re remotely controlling a crane or autonomous vehicle can have serious consequences.

IoT Breakthrough award

To provide ultra-reliable, low latency connectivity, Cisco acquired Fluidmesh in July 2020. Today, the market intelligence firm IoT Breakthrough gave a shout out to the acquisition by naming us the “M2M Network Equipment Company of the Year” in 2021. Now in its fifth year, the IoT Breakthrough Awards program recognizes innovators, leaders, and visionaries from around the globe in multiple IoT categories. We’re pleased to have been selected for the award from a field of more than 3,850 nominees around the world.

Fluidmesh is now Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul

To highlight what makes Fluidmesh unique, we’re changing its name to Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul. New name, same specs. Up to 500Mbps dedicated bandwidth. Negligible latency. No packet loss during handoffs even when assets are moving at up to 350 kpm (217 mph). Five-nines availability. And no service provider fees, because you own the network. James Johnson, managing director of IoT Breakthrough, spelled out the innovation when he said, “Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul extends the company’s leadership in industrial wireless to include on-the-move applications where reliable backhaul is mission critical.”

In action

The best way I know to show how Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul is transforming operations is to point to our customers. In Lyon, France, rail operator SYTRAL is improving passenger safety by monitoring feeds from more than 1000 IP cameras—at any train speed. Malta Freeport Terminals controls cranes and yard equipment up to 800 meters away at 50 to 60 Mbps—with zero packet loss. In Milan, Italy, Hitachi Rail (previously Ansaldo STS) runs a completely driverless metro line enabled by communications-based train control (CBTC). Other customers use our Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul for remote machine operations, SCADA backhaul, and emergency response systems.

Like pasta recipes, new use cases just keep emerging. I invite you to learn more about Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul here.

I welcome your comments.


Umberto Malesci


Cisco Internet of Things (IoT)