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Creating your own cellular network

If you want to use cellular communication for remote I/O and devices, does that mean signing up with a commercial carrier?

December 17, 2010


Dear Control Engineering: I’ve seen discussions of using cellular technology for industrial wireless devices, here in this blog, in the wireless Webcast, and some other recent product-related articles. Does using cellular technology assume that I will engage a commercial service provider, or do I have the option of creating my own private network?

While it is relatively simple for you to set up many types of wireless networks such as Wi-fi, ISA100.11a, WirelessHART, and many other proprietary systems, cellular is probably not one you will do on your own. It is possible, at least in theory, that you could set up your own network, however it would be expensive and not very practical.

The whole point of using cellular technology is that you don’t have to create your own wireless infrastructure. The relatively high cost of paying for the service is offset by not having to make the large up-front investment to create the network to reach isolated I/O.

If you are intent on trying to create the same type of functionality as you might want from cellular service but with your own infrastructure, there are other radio technologies that would represent a better choice.

Listen to the Webcast, Connections without Wires: How wireless technology creates new paths to productivity.

Peter Welander--pwelander(at)cfemedia.com