Wireless Automation Technology

Automation Technology Moves Towards The Wireless Era

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IEEE 802.11 products operate in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands, which allow for a high data throughput and a range of up to 100 metres. However, industrial applications in large facilities, such as oil and gas fields or water/wastewater treatment plants require longer distances. Additionally, signals at these higher frequencies are more susceptible to physical interference such as pillars, machinery and walls.

The choice between a standard such as IEEE 802.11 and networks operating in lower frequency bands comes down to the application. Users needing to transfer large amounts of data, in short time periods, at relatively short distances, may find that IEEE 802.11 fits their needs best. Longer range applications may require lower frequency networks.

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Mix it to the Max! A Combination of Wireless Networks Sometimes Brings Best Effects

In many instances, a mix of networks works best, with lower frequency bands used at the sensor or field level and IEEE 802.11 elsewhere. The green curve (Refer Figure 2) illustrates the exponential decrease in unit price, while the orange curve shows the exponential increase in unit shipments. Today, one can get products with ten times the performance for one-tenth of the cost. Such impressive price-performance improvement and massive shipment volume lead to lowcost and stable supply of WLAN components.

In terms of user’s choice and perspective, now a complete and significant paradigm shift can be observed from traditional-legacy wired technologies to futuristic wireless technologies, and these can be very well

endorsed by huge rise in demand and enhanced CAGR of the manufacturer organisations shipping wireless instruments in recent time.

But where to use wireless automation technology? More on page 4!