The wireless revolution

Industrial Wireless Tutorials: Everything will be connected to everything else, wirelessly. Ethernet began wirelessly, and the Internet of things will benefit from wireless expansion, especially IEEE 802.11 wireless standards. The wireless spectrum is worth billions of dollars and will help create even more value. See related webcast.

06/10/2014


Industrial Wireless Tutorials – a new Control Engineering blogWe are living in what is rapidly becoming a wireless world. Many years ago, I was interviewed and impetuously stated that, in the future, everything would be wirelessly connected to everything else. This was during a time when the industry was just switching over from 10BASE2 cabling to what was then known as 10BASET, now known as CAT6. I got a lot of flak over that statement, but here we are—on the verge of the Internet of Things. Many of you reading this have never known a world without Bluetooth, or computers, for that matter.

In the beginning, Ethernet was wireless; Messrs. Metcalf and Boggs coined the phrase "Ethernet" because the original transmission medium for the shared communication channel was by radio. The system was not reliable and subject to interference and frequent disruptions. Subsequent work by DARPA and Xerox on cabled networking systems spawned many different flavors of wired data communications; all of those have fallen away with the exception of what became the de facto networking standard, IEEE 802.3.

Many networks

Not to say that other forms of networking are not used. RS-485 is alive and well and doing yeoman service in thousands of Modbus networks. There are still MAP systems out there, so I am told, using token-bus. But the vast majority of data communication done over wired systems is accomplished using Ethernet and the TCP/IP protocol suite.

The origin of the term "Wi-Fi" is clouded. It was allegedly coined from a contraction of the words "Wireless Fidelity," but according to a Wikipedia entry, this misconception stems from the advertising slogan "The Standard for Wireless Fidelity." The same entry states the name was a play on the term "Hi-Fi."

Throughout this series of articles, I will use the terms Wi-Fi and WLAN (wireless local area network) interchangeably to describe the technology.

Beginnings of Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi had its beginnings with the 1985 FCC ruling that released the 2.4 GHz Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) band for unlicensed use. This was followed in 2008 by the release of the 5 GHz U-NII band. These decisions allowed the use of 11 and 23 channels, respectively.

The IEEE 802.11 working group standardized Wi-Fi technology. The first standard to hit the street was the 802.11 "prime" standard, which allowed for a maximum data rate of 2 Mbps. Adoption of the technology was slow, owing to expensive access points, slow transmission rates, propagation and medium arbitration issues, and, most significantly, the lack of adequate security.

Shift to wireless

Daniel E. Capano, owner and president, Diversified Technical Services Inc. of Stamford, Conn., is a certified wireless network administrator (CWNA) and writes posts for the Control Engineering blog, Industrial Wireless Tutorials.It is estimated that by 2015, 80% of all data communication will be wireless. It is essential for any control systems practitioner to be well versed in the state of the art. Presently, wireless speeds of 1 Gbps are theoretically possible with the newly ratified 802.11ac standard. As of April 1, 2014, the FCC has expanded the U-NII band by 100 Mhz of bandwidth, and is considering making another 150 MHz available for WLAN service.

Finally, to put a fine point on it, the economic value of unlicensed spectrum in the United States is estimated at $228 billion. This alone will continue to drive the technology to eventually replace most wired communication.

- Daniel E. Capano, owner and president, Diversified Technical Services Inc. of Stamford, Conn., is a certified wireless network administrator (CWNA). Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

ONLINE extras

www.controleng.com/blogs will have additional wireless tutorials.

www.controleng.com/webcasts has wireless webcasts, some for PDH credit, including one featuring Capano as featured speaker, live June 10 at 1 p.m., CDT, and archived thereafter.

Control Engineering has a wireless page.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me