Both process and discrete industrial markets continue to look further at wireless technologies to enable new capabilities and provide incremental improvements in existing network communications. According to a report from the ARC Advisory Group, standardization of wireless network protocols for both devices and infrastructure is helping to increase the popularity of wireless technology.
We surveyed Industrial Networking readers recently about their protocol preferences. Of those using wireless networking technologies, close to half (45%) use 802.11b/g as their primary network protocol. Just over a quarter (26%) make WirelessHART their primary network, and another quarter are split evenly between 802.11n and proprietary networks. Bluetooth and ZigBee are still factoring low on the use scale.
With its latest report on the process industries, ARC found that many initial applications are focused on adding incremental points to improve control strategies, taking advantage of the ability to take measurements in difficult-to-reach or mobile locations. As wireless device adoption increases, analysts say, market emphasis will move from incremental additions to more comprehensive wireless installations.
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
SureCross Q45 self-contained, wireless photoelectric sensor solution includes proprietary power management for extended battery life on two replaceable AA lithium batteries, communication range to 1 km line-of-sight, multiple I/O with support of a wireless network of up to 47 Q45 sensors per gateway, and IP67/NEMA 6P classification.
DIN-rail-mount Bluetooth Starter Kit, to evaluate and implement Bluetooth wireless technology, has two pre-configured Wago-I/O-System nodes equipped with a programmable fieldbus controller and Bluetooth RF-Transceiver Module. Via browser, users can view communication status and throughput time, and test included digital points on a pre-built web page.
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.
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.
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.
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 in the fieldbus. The gateway can be installed in Zone 1 areas and can serve up to 250 WirelessHART field devices.
RAD-WHA-1/2NPT WirelessHART adapter can attach to four HART devices. If HART devices are not used, it can connect to a single 4–20 mA device to send a digitized value. It can be connected in series with a HART device (loop powered) or in parallel with four HART devices (24 Vdc powered).
Bat54-Rail and Bat300-Rail WLAN access points and clients have ISA 12.12.01 Class I, Div. 2 and ATEX IEC/EN 60079 Zone II certification. Bat300-Rail complies with protection class IP40 and supports IEEE802.11n (300 Mbps) wireless communications standard and MIMO technology. Bat54-Rail devices have up to two radio modules, operating at 5 or 2.4 GHz.
Magnum DX940 hardened substation industrial router is configurable with both 3G wireless and copper cable and fiber wireline ports. The router has port-module flexibility for a wide variety of network configurations within the same router enclosure. It provides secure access where wireline would be too difficult or too expensive to deploy.
Rosemount 248 wireless temperature transmitter is a single-point transmitter using WirelessHART technology. The single sensor transmitter accepts thermocouple, RTC, mV and ohm inputs.
Emerson Process Management
QuickTalk RQT industrial-grade radio transmitter with sensor inputs and voice recording storage will automatically alert radio-equipped personnel when plant conditions change. It accepts inputs from four switches or sensors; when change is detected, a pre-recorded message alerts plant personnel to the variance. Monitor emergency motion, liquid level, temperature, vibration, power interruption, obstructions and others.
Airborne 802.11b/g access point offers two forms. APMG-Q551 embeddable module allows device manufacturers to Wi-Fi-enable their products to serve as M2M wireless communication hubs or tie into existing wireless networks. APXG-Q5420 is an external Ethernet access point in a standalone box, and adds serial device server capability. Both units can switch from access point to client mode through either web or command line interfaces.
WI-I/O-9-U2 Wireless I/O combines multi I/O and/or gateway function to provide mesh/self-healing network communications, multi-hop repeating and remote over-the-air reconfiguration and diagnostics. It is a 900 MHz frequency-hopping spread-spectrum (FHSS) device, and combines 128-bit AES encryption and a unique algorithm to provide secure communications.
wSeries wireless transmitters for analog voltage and current, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure communicate over standard 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and send text message or email alarms if variables go above or below a pre-determined set point. The CE-compliant product has a NEMA 4/IP65 enclosure.
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.
AWK-1121 and AWK-1127 dedicated IEEE 802.11a/b/g WLAN clients have redundant power inputs, -40 to 75 °C operating ranges, dual 12–48 Vdc power inputs, PoE support in select models, and an IP30 case with LED indicators. An RS-232/422/485 connection is possible with AWK-1127.
Embedded management CIP Object and pre-designed FactoryTalk faceplates for 802.11n industrial hotspot products allow direct EtherNet/IP communications from PLCs, PACs and SCADA software systems to each 802.11n wireless node. PLC/PAC programs can directly monitor link signal strength, data packet errors to detect problems and make decisions such as to activate a redundant link.
MacTek's Bullet WirelessHART adapter with intrinsic safety (IS) certification enables existing wired HART field devices from any supplier to communicate the process variable and other valuable device information via WirelessHART. Loop-powered, it can be installed on a non-smart, analog device and will transmit a digital PV, eliminating operator rounds and manual data recording.
IndustrialPro M2M routers provide secure, cost-effective wireless connectivity to remote locations and assets. As reliable primary WAN connections or backup to existing network links, the routers are suited to harsh industrial environments where space might be limited and wired connectivity not feasible.