To help us identify the latest usage and application trends in wireless networking, we conducted an electronic survey of our Industrial Networking audience earlier this year.
This year, 61% of the study respondents currently have wireless or have plans to deploy wireless in the next 12 months. It's not terribly surprising to find that this number is up from 55% in 2010 and 39% in 2009.
Of those respondents who have a wireless application, 30% use WirelessHART and 27% employ 802.11b/g. This reverses the outcome in 2010, when we found that 23% used WirelessHART and 26% used 802.11b/g. The use of proprietary protocols dropped from 17% in 2010 to 8% this year.
Asked what their wireless application is used for, 74% of respondents indicated that they're measuring process variables, and that's up markedly from the 58% we noted in 2010.
Some 54% of respondents indicated their biggest concern about using a wireless connectivity is its reliability and the case for data loss. That's notably up from 44% in 2010. Concerns about a lack of standards, security worries, and battery power were largely unchanged over the past 12 months, according to the study respondents.
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.
Wireless Device Manager (WDM) manages a field-instrument network by serving as a gateway and security manager. It provides an intuitive, web-based interface that allows plant personnel to set up an ISA100.11a network. WDM reduces the time required to commission, monitor and troubleshoot a wireless field instrument network.
Bullet WirelessHART adapter with 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.
758-915 Bluetooth gateway transfers Profinet, Modbus/TCP or EtherNet/IP protocols via Bluetooth 2.0. It uses frequency hopping spread spectrum technology and Low Emission Mode to coexist with WLANs. Web-based management provides password or IP address configuration options; on-unit LEDs provide configuration and diagnostic status.
Magnum DX940 hardened substation industrial router is configurable with both 3G wireless and copper cable and fiber wireline ports. It has port-module flexibility for a wide variety of network configurations within the same router enclosure. It provides secure access where wireline is too difficult or too expensive to deploy.
Basic version of the Trusted Wireless Ethernet radio, TWE-Basic transmits Ethernet data from remote locations, even in high interference. It excludes RS-232 and RS-485/422 ports as a slave-only device for use with a standard TWE or TWE-BUS radio. It has MOTR-9 radio platform and a 1 W, frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum (FHSS) transceiver, and operates in the license-free, 902-928 MHz ISM band.
SureCross wireless I/O gateways and nodes have high-power radio frequency (RF) architecture with 1 W transmit power in the 900 MHz ISM band for a range to six miles between devices. Operators select 4-20 mA or 0-10 V inputs in the field. Additional models provide up to 12 discrete inputs or outputs.
wSeries wireless transmitters for analog voltage and current, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure communicate over standard 802.11 b/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.
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
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 GHz or 2.4 GHz.
Indoor/outdoor GhostBridge wireless Ethernet bridge with a line-of-sight range to 15 km and 150 Mbps point-to-point speed between two remote devices or networks is sold in pre-configured pairs with LED indicators to align them. It has an 80-degree, 15 dBi sector antenna integrated into the housing and a 5 GHz radio built from 802.11n 2x2 MIMO technology. A PoE pass-through Ethernet port also allows users to connect remote devices to a LAN. The unit consumes 8 W maximum.
For company’s industrial Ethernet switches, wireless access points/bridges/clients and serial device servers, MXview industrial network management software monitors up to 1,000 nodes of networking devices in physical topology maps that show comprehensive real-time information, such as network connections, device status, traffic and activities. Users can play back network events recorded as historical topology snapshots to trace exceptions.
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.
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 may be limited and wired connectivity not feasible.
Wireless in a Box Ethernet version enables deployment of wireless Ethernet, and an I/O version allows for installation of multi-point wireless direct I/O. They are NEMA 4X and IP67-rated, are available in a stainless-steel or plastic enclosure, and have a Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz modem, which can function as an access point, bridge, client or router. The enclosures come with power supply, circuit and surge protection, terminal blocks, ground blocks, antenna and cables.
Scalance W784 line of IP30-rated wireless LAN access points includes an aluminum housing and a small footprint to be wall-mounted or panel-mounted on a 35 mm standard mounting rail. The access points support the Wi-Fi-protected access (WPA2) specification and the advanced encryption standard (AES) for 128-bit encryption, along with MAC address filtering. The access points also support the standard point coordinated function (PCF) protocol as well as industrial PCF (iPCF).
AW-XAP enclosure houses WLAN access points, routers and bridges for 802.11b/g networks in hazardous locations. Two Div. 1 antennae atop an explosion-proof enclosure enables a WLAN access point in a Class I, Div. 1 area. An alternative glass antenna dome permits mounting stock whip antennae. The enclosure system has third-party approval from UL, and ATEX certification when specified.
The Wonderware IntelaTrac system includes configurable software and ruggedized mobile hardware solutions and can be operated using smartphones, PDAs, rugged handheld computers, laptops and PCs to enhance the productivity of mobile workers. IntelaTrac is structured around a suite of components, which include software, hardware, secure wireless infrastructure and RFID technology. IntelaTrac v. 3.2 offers simplified integration with multiple back-end systems.