Nano coating technologies: protecting our future 5G and IoT networks

01 March 2018

Ady Moores, CEO, P2i

Ady Moores, CEO, P2i

Last year, Gartner predicted that by 2020 IoT technology will be in 95 per cent of electronics for new product designs. In basic terms, this means the majority of future electronics will be connected to the internet. Coupled with Gartner’s forecast that there will be 20.4 billion IoT devices deployed by then, that’s a whole lot of connectivity.

For the IoT to function properly and remain cost effective it will require continuous uptime and minimal maintenance – these networks need to be ‘always on’. As 5G is deployed commercially and small cell deployments proliferate, this connectivity will be facilitated by faster and smarter technologies. 

But it doesn’t matter how good the network is if devices that connect to it are damaged and unable to transmit data, or transmitting inaccurate data. With many IoT devices just a link in the chain, the failure of a single device can have wide-reaching consequences. It’s vital that the data collected from each node feeds into and flows through the network as a whole, with interrupted services unacceptable to users.

In any environment that you can imagine internet-connected electronics operating in, one of the main factors that affects performance and connectivity is humidity. This is particularly true for those sensors and devices that are exposed to the elements. This is where hydrophobic nano coating technologies come into their own. 

Traditional waterproofing solutions require physical seals to be built into devices to stop water ingress. However, nano coating technologies cover the complete device inside and out with a nano-scale monomer that chemically bonds to the surface.

Nano-coating is a more cost-effective solution than physical barriers, and enables greater design freedom. Whilst many IoT devices deployed outside and in extreme weather conditions will feature ruggedisation, the addition of nano coating on such devices means that even when physical barriers are compromised, they can continue to withstand water and liquid ingress corrosion for years to come.