Wireless infrastructure gets an upgrade
Focusing on integration and management of a facility’s wireless infrastructure, Moffett Field CA-based Apprion, has released R3 of its ION system. The release allows facilities to improve management of users, devices and systems across a large network and plant area, while enhancing plant communications, increasing productivity and satisfying regulatory mandates.
This release is designed to address three fronts: hardware, applications and continued platform enhancements. “R3 makes improvements to the software platform,” said Ian McPherson, vice-president of Network Architecture for Apprion. “It increases flexibility, and is more intuitive.”
McPherson said that the Apprion system is a wireless infrastructure %%MDASSML%% not a wireless sensor. ION supplies the network connections and overhead over which the growing wireless sensor offerings communicate and operate. Although there is brisk competition in the wireless sensor industry %%MDASSML%% especially surrounding the ISA100 standard development process %%MDASSML%% the ION system works with them, providing a common ground.
The ION R3 system supports wireless devices from multiple vendors including Siemens Scalance access points, Cisco Aironet 1500 series access points, Emerson 1420 Wireless Gateways and Apprion’s IONizers. The Apprion system integrates data from multiple vendors and data sources. The dashboard enables managers and operators to make this data useful by providing a central location to view alerts and reports real-time, manage data, users and devices and make informed decisions.
At the October 2007 ISA Expo, Apprion demonstrated ION’s integrated network management functionality. The ISA100 standards committee hosted a multi-vendor technology demonstration showcasing the major principles of operation of the committee’s work, and products from more than 15 vendors. Suppliers participating in the integrated demo included AirSprite, Apprion, Arch Rock, Cirronet, Elpro, Emerson Process, Endress + Hauser, Flowserve, GE, Honeywell, Invensys, MachineTalker, Omnex, Rockwell Automation, SensorLogic and Yokogawa. Apprion’s ION managed the integration of all the devices and systems in the ISA100 wireless infrastructure demo.
Notable capabilities of ION R3 include the ability to integrate video into the dashboard and its enhanced alarm management capabilities. According to McPherson, the integration of these features can be very beneficial to the security of a facility. He explained that using current GPS and mapping technologies, alarms can be embedded to indicate when critical events occur, as well as display multiple event security levels.
This type of information is also helpful when performing site RF spectrum optimization. Using spectrum reporting tools, users can compare ongoing site spectrum performance with the original site survey benchmark to ensure the health of their wireless infrastructure. By knowing how the RF spectrum behaved, and monitoring changes in performance over time, users can know how the network is affected by time of day, potential obstructions or coexistence within the spectrum.