Network Connections With Freedom From Wires

Oct. 20, 2014
Tested Wireless Topologies and Devices Ensure Secure Access
About the Author
Leslie Gordon is a former Senior Technical Writer on Control, Control Design and Industrial Networking magazines.

Advances in industrial wireless devices and networks are everywhere. They are allowing instant access to a variety of data. With a bit of attention to security, configuration and topology, viable wireless networks can be developed to make it happen.

According to Rob Snyder, product manager for the network infrastructure group at Rockwell Automation, "Manufacturers need to control moving equipment and gain access to data in fixed equipment without spending the time and money to wire or rewire. They increasingly need mobile access to production information. To meet these needs, automation vendors are delivering high-performance wireless access points and aggregation clients, such as work group bridges, to enable industrial wireless connectivity to machines and skids, allowing low-latency jitter communications from controllers to switches to I/O modules. Also, the wide adoption of the EtherNet/IP network on plant floors allows users to add wireless as a progression or extension of previous networking solutions. EtherNet/IP is standard, unmodified Ethernet built to seamlessly work with IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n. But beyond wireless-ready hardware and networks, industrial companies are becoming more familiar with the work required to design and deploy a wireless local area network (WLAN). Companies are providing tested topologies and configurations, avoiding data packet delays and ensuring secure access. End users can leverage guidance on wireless design considerations from major suppliers."

"Using wireless for remote communication is becoming standard practice in the industrial arena," says Justin Shade, product marketing specialist, wireless, I/O and networks, Phoenix Contact USA. "With the prices of copper cable and labor constantly on the rise, and the reliability of wireless communication becoming stronger and stronger, the use of wireless in previously manual applications is becoming more common. Here, wireless includes the many technologies that address different applications. For instance, high-speed technologies such as Wi-Fi or WLAN let users perform video surveillance or even real-time communications with machinery. More robust technologies such as 900-MHz frequency hopping, allow for the long- distance monitoring of more than 20 miles typically used to remotely monitor I/O and PLCs. In addition, cellular technology supports connecting anywhere in the world, letting users gain access to equipment instead of needing to make a trip to service it. Selecting the appropriate wireless technology for the application is very important because there is no one technology that fits every application."

High-Speed AP/Client
AWK-1131A IEEE 802.11n wireless AP/client features high-speed transmission rates up to 300 Mbps, as well as galvanic isolation technology that breaks ground loops to help prevent unwanted current caused by different ground potentials from entering the device. The device measures 2.29 x 4.53 x 2.76 in., and can operate on either the 2.4- or 5-GHz bands. It is backward-compatible with existing 802.11a/b/g installations.
Moxa Americas
HART Gateway
WirelessHART Gateway connects the wired structure and wireless network with its network management to organize and control the wireless network and connect this to a control or SCADA system. Field device signals are received and passed on via the appropriate bus protocol. The gateway can be installed in Zone 1 areas and can support up to 250 WirelessHART field devices.
Wireless Access Point
Allen-Bradley Stratix 5100 wireless access point (WAP) features a work group bridge and lets engineers connect up to 19 IP addresses simultaneously. The device supports 802.11a/b/g/n and has 3x4 multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) technology and three spatial streams. The 5100 lets users access production data from remote and difficult-to-reach areas.
Rockwell Automation
Wireless Pushbutton
SureCross Wireless Q45 push button with confirmation light and bidirectional communication lets operators send a digital signal and receive confirmation of its receipt. The device's frequency-hopping signal ensures secure data transfer. It has a line-of-site range to 3,000 ft and can run for up to five years on two AA lithium batteries, or be powered by a local 10-30 V supply.
Banner Engineering
Two in One
Wireless modems for long-range Ethernet and serial data communications extend Ethernet networks into difficult-to-access locations. Special features provide dynamic network optimization and intelligent routing for high reliability, lower latency and deterministic power management. The units support 360 to 512 MHz and 928 to 960 MHz configurations. They can operate in access point/client configurations and function as a network bridge/router or serve as a serial server (RS232/485).
Wireless Machine Networking
Scalance W761-1 RJ45 access point and the Scalance W721-1 RJ45 client module work together to provide wireless machine networking from inside a cabinet. The modules can be rail- or wall-mounted, or directly mounted flush to the company's distributed I/O devices. The units offer a slot for one of the company's replaceable medium devices and PoE. The access point and the client module provide IP20 protection and up to 150 Mbit/s transmission rates.
Transducers Go Wireless
Model BT4000 Series coupled flange drive transducers feature encapsulated on-board electronics that provide strain gage bridge excitation, bridge output amplification, and provide amplified signal conversion into a 16-bit digital word. The units provide Bluetooth wireless rotary torque sensing in extreme high-vibration environments. The transducers measure torques up to 8,000 Nm at speeds up to 7,000 rpm, with analog voltage, digital or frequency signal outputs.
SensorData Technologies
Measures CO2
The IAQM-THCO2 is an IEEE 802.15.4 wireless sensor that is compatible with DM-124 wireless Modbus networks, measures air temperature, relative humidity, and CO2 levels. The device is Modbus RTU-compatible, which means that any PLC, controller or PC connected to the DM-124 coordinator can retrieve data by using standard Modbus RTU commands. The sensor's Config Tool software eases the process of configuring the device via radio.
+34 91 189 05 21
Wireless Outdoor Bridge
APX-120N5 is a long-distance, point-to-point preconfigured wireless outdoor bridge. The device comprises two units, is IP67-rated and has a frequency range that complies with IEEE 802.11a/n. The bridge is also a powered device (PD) that complies with IEEE 802.3af. Each unit consumes 7.5 W of power with an output of 800 mW. Users need not log onto the wireless devices to set up software or configure a wireless network.
Mustering Tower
ION mustering tower is a stationary access point for real-time personnel check-in to mustering areas during emergencies. During emergencies, the wireless, solar- powered device uses a visual strobe light to notify personnel they should proceed to the mustering area. Employees can check in via a wireless badge, eliminating the need for manual processing, and the tower's Wi-Fi reader immediately updates the system that the employee is safe.
Adam-2000Z series wireless I/O modules use IEEE 802.15.4 standard I/O and support 2.4-GHz mesh networking. They include a Modbus RTU gateway, router node, I/O and sensor devices. An internal compartment for two AA alkaline batteries will keep devices updated at 1 min intervals for a year. They can connect up to 32 nodes, including router and end devices.
Advantech Industrial Automation
(800) 205-7940
Go Pro
IndustrialPro 6000 industrial cellular routers with Ethernet and serial interfaces provide wireless communication between SCADA servers and remote RTUs, PLC/controllers and other automation devices. Support for 4G LTE with 3G fallback provides streaming video support for monitoring applications. VPN capabilities, data encryption and stateful firewall configuration can be used to secure remote networks.
(518) 877-5173
Alerts for Analog
wSeries wireless transmitters for analog voltage and current, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure communicate over standard 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, and send text messages or e-mail alarms if variables go above or below a pre-determined setpoint. The CE-compliant product has a NEMA 4/IP65 enclosure.
Omega Engineering
(203) 359-1660
No Cluster Headaches
FL WLAN 5101 802.11a/b/g/n radio for wireless industrial Ethernet communications offers speeds to 300 Mbps. Cluster management (CM) technology simplifies wireless network management. All access points in a WLAN network can be configured and managed via a single web interface using any access point in the network without additional hardware or software.
Phoenix Contact
(800) 322-3225
Slip Away From Slip Rings
IP65 WLAN wireless Ethernet gateways (WEGs) simplify machine-to-machine networking and replace slip rings on rotating equipment. 758-916 (2.4-GHz) and 758-917 (5-GHz) WEGS transmit data up to 1,300 ft line-of-sight via Modbus/TCP, EtherNet/IP or Profinet. On-unit LEDs provide diagnostics/operational status. A pushbutton and web-based management tool simplify configuration.
(800) din-rail
Double Coverage
Cisco Aironet 1552S industrial access point, as part of the OneWireless mesh network, provides wireless coverage for tablet PCs, ISA100.11a field instruments, such as wireless temperature transmitters, and Ethernet devices, Wi-Fi clients and ISA100.11a field instruments. It has three dual-band radios that are compliant with IEEE 802.11a/n (5-GHz) and 802.11b/g/n (2.4-GHz) standards.
(800) 343-0228
Small, Secure
Smart wireless gateway 1410 eliminates manual readings in remote locations and delivers real-time information. It was designed to meet the needs of smaller networks (up to 25 devices) required for remote applications, has built-in layered security, and additional devices can be added quickly and easily without the need to configure the communication paths.
Emerson Process Management
(80) /999-9307
Use the Wave
PremierWave EN wireless device server includes an embedded Linux development kit for wireless connectivity with tunneling, secure tunneling, configuration manager, web-based configuration manager, system-level and diagnostic utilities, Ethernet-to-wireless LAN bridging and virtual IP access for remote connectivity behind firewalls.
(800) 526-8766

Long-Distance Transmitter
WNM wireless network module for sending process signals between remote field sites from up to 30 miles can act as a repeater for a virtually unlimited transmission range. Bi-directional device employs spread-spectrum, frequency-hopping operating at standard 902–928 MHz or 2.4–2.4835 GHz. In Smart Switch Ethernet (SSE) mode, it determines the most efficient path of broadcast on a packet-by-packet basis.
Moore Industries
(818) 894-7111
Customized M2M
Aleos Application Framework has an integrated development environment, feature-rich libraries and a set of tools to develop custom M2M applications on top of the Aleos embedded intelligence platform on AirLink GX400 and GX440 gateways. It provides M2M and network protocol stacks, access to existing services and direct access to hardware interfaces.
Sierra Wireless
(604) 232-1488
No Batteries Required
Wireless, industrial-grade, single- and multi-actuator command stations come with pushbutton, selector and key-operated switches. Each has an energy generator, eliminating need for a battery and its related maintenance or replacement. For 915-MHz operation, they’re c CSA us, FCC and IC-certified, and have a nominal transmission range of 40 m inside and 450 m outside.
Steute Industrial Controls
(203) 244-6301
Versatile Wireless
AirborneM2M 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi platform with dual-band (2.4- and 5-GHz) connectivity includes industrial Wi-Fi access points (APXN) and Wi-Fi clients (ABDN), including Ethernet bridges, Ethernet routers and serial servers, and can connect RS-232, 422, 485, Ethernet 10/100M and I/O to the Wi-Fi network. Power options include 5-36 Vdc and 802.3af PoE. Security features include network security (EAP), wireless security (802.11i and WPA2-PSK), access security (authentication and firewalls), communication security (SSH) and device security (encryption).
B&B Electronics
(800) 346-3119

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