Many industry operators today seek ways to maximize their investments in communication networks and ensure secure and reliable data transmission. Several solutions are available for this purpose. However, the two most commonly used solutions are wireless technology and hard-wired options.
While both solutions have a place in the industry, we are starting to see an increase in the use of wireless technology for industrial and remote applications. In the past, remote instrumentation was based on wired systems. However, factors such as flexibility, cost savings, and power consumption have led to the adoption of wireless remote monitoring and control systems.
Why Wireless Technology Is a Better Option than Hard-Wired Ones for Industrial and Remote Applications
Many still regard hard-wired communication networks as the most reliable option. However, the substantial operating and cost advantages that come with adopting wireless systems is causing them to become more prevalent in industrial and remote applications.
A growing trend in the industry, wireless connectivity today includes a wide range of products and solutions for wireless data transfer for upstream communications in industrial communications. This has been possible due to current wireless protocols that have been made more robust and reliable than previous versions by recent technological advances.
Options for a plant or operational infrastructure that would otherwise be limited by connectivity in hardwired connections are offered by modern industrial wireless networks. In a wireless network, industrial operations have access to vastly increased connectivity, providing more flexible and versatile possibilities for configuration. This eliminates the need for each access point to be connected by a physical connection.
Considering the advantages over hardwired options, wireless connectivity is no longer ‘an option’ for industrial and remote applications. Instead, it is a ‘necessity’. In fact, wireless sensing is already being used in thousands of process industry applications. Additionally, manufacturers are reporting a high demand for wireless networks within the industry.
While wireless control is typically used to diagnose and monitor equipment, current trends indicate that wider use of the technology is just around the corner. This, along with the benefits of wireless technology over hard-wired options, makes wireless systems a more viable option than wired systems. Following are some of the benefits of using wireless technology over hard-wired options for industrial and remote applications.
1. No Wiring or Trenching
Thousands of yards of cable are required by a wired system to connect to different endpoints. If connections are thousands of feet away, a wired system can be expensive since installation costs fluctuate between $10 per $20 per foot.
On the other hand, wireless systems are powered by battery, a power-scavenging device, or local power. They do not have any conduit requirements. As a result, the need for hardwiring instrumentation is eliminated, which lowers costs significantly.
2. Ability to Operate in Different Territories
In many cases, if a company does not have ownership of a road, stream, or other infrastructure, then it cannot run wires there without prior approval from concerned authorities. This problem is eliminated by a wireless remote monitoring system.
This consists of industrial transceiver nodes that provide a long-range and powerful data transmission in the unlicensed industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) radio bands. These nodes maintain signal strength through the terrain, structures, or weather.
Even if it is left unattended for years, a wireless system can operate on its own. The system can run in dangerous and spiteful conditions without being interrupted by environmental factors such as snow, ice, rain, and dust storms.
3. Lower Installation and Retrofit Cost
Compared to a wired system of similar capacity, a wireless system can cost far less per measured point. Depending on specifications for vendor and application, a wireless system can cost a few hundred dollars compared to more than a $1000 required by a wired system of similar capacity.
In addition to the above, a wireless system may require new cables if it is repaired or reconfigured. This involves managing and financing hardware, trenching, and labor. In contrast to this, a wireless system can easily be scaled without adding any new hardware.
Wireless systems can meet changing and expanded requirements after initial installation by easily adding new wireless instruments. Additionally, it is possible to configure a wireless system in the shop which reduces on-site by more than 50%.
4. Integration with Different Sensors
It is possible for users of wireless remote monitoring systems with an open architecture to integrate several types of sensor to monitor assets. The result of this is an ability to add or subtract various sensors as required to measure parameters such as temperature, pressure, flow, and level.
Not only can users select the best sensor for each application, but they can also consolidate all the data from various sensors to a single point having a single-data interface. Additionally, they can accommodate thousands of receiver nodes using robust gateways to allow the network to cover a range of hundreds of square miles.
5. No Loss of Data
Since operators are not alerted to the problem, wired systems typically suffer from failures or sub-par operations until instrumentation is back online when they are affected due to dirt, corrosion, cut wires, or another adverse condition. A wireless system programmed with a communications link alarm provides alerts whenever data is not in transmission. Preventative maintenance linked to wireless diagnostics can help avoid most of the problems related to the transmission of data.
6. Secure and Dependable Monitoring and Control of Building Systems
The only wireless mesh standard for commercial buildings, ZigBee ensures secure and dependable monitoring and control of building systems. ZigBee, along with the building automation and control network, keeps wireless communications links connected by offering redundant, self-repairing mesh technology. It does so while co-existing with other wireless communication systems. These capabilities are not available with a hardwired system.
More versatile and cost-effective than hard-wired options, wireless technology meets different challenges related to industrial and remote applications that wired systems just cannot address. This makes wireless technology a better option for industrial and remote applications than hard-wired solutions.
by Bobby J Davidson
We love our company and we love what we do. Check out the ‘Why Percento‘ page to learn more: Love of Technology and Business! As the President of Percento Technologies International, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the firm.
The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a one call source for organizations in need of Enterprise IT Consulting and Management. We also provide a line of products in the boutique Cloud Server space with a touch of high-end website strategy consulting and design services. We personalizes the IT Service experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including energy services, financial, legal, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality, retail and general and/or corporate business. percentotech.com/