Research: Wireless use in industry

What wireless technologies are being used for industrial applications? IEEE 802.11, Bluetooth, and wireless are widely used. More information is being gathered.

03/20/2013


Figure shows wireless networks used for industrial applications. For 2013, information is being gathered on individual protocols. Courtesy: IMS Research (Part of IHS Inc.)Wireless in industrial applications has been around for a number of years. Its use has mainly been in areas where a traditional networking solution of industrial Ethernet or fieldbus has not been feasible, either through problems with distance, cost, or lack of existing infrastructure. Wireless technology has had to overcome a number of barriers in the past: A perceived lack of reliability, its suitability for control, and its ability to transmit in a busy environment have all hindered its adoption. However, as the technology has matured, user acceptance has grown.

Wireless communications used in factory and process automation are currently driven by three main technologies. In 2011, IHS estimated that almost one quarter of all new wireless connections made were made by wireless LAN. This can be in the form of 802.11a, b, g, and n. Modes a, b, and g are more popular, but n mode is beginning to make headway as it moves from the consumer market into the industrial space. Common use of multiple antennae means it has built-in redundancy should a single antenna be damaged or fail.

Bluetooth is also widely used within industry and is estimated to account for over one-fifth of total new wireless connections in 2011. Classic Bluetooth is relatively low bandwidth, but the newer Bluetooth high-speed variant is designed to improve this. Bluetooth can be suitable for battery-powered solutions, although Bluetooth Low Energy has been designed specifically with this in mind.

Cellular technology has been in used in wireless communication for some time now and is estimated to make up 15% of new connections. It is very suitable for long-distance transmission due to the existing cellular infrastructure in remote locations. This makes it very suitable for SCADA systems.

Many proprietary and “other” solutions exist in the wireless space. These include unlicensed bands such as the sub-GHz range as well as long haul communications. These are popular in the process industry and, like most wireless solutions, do not require any existing network infrastructure. The lower cost of installation can make them an appealing prospect to those looking to install wireless. WirelessHART and ISA100.11a have, until recently, been working toward a single standard. This, however, has not been successful and is unlikely to occur in the near future. The lack of convergence means these two technologies will continue to vie for new connections in the industrial space.

- Tom Moore, B.Sc, is analyst for industrial automation, IMS Research (Part of IHS Inc.). Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

ONLINE

IMS Research (IHS) July 2013 wireless networking report link 

www.imsresearch.com 

www.ihs.com  



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
Selecting the best controller from several viewpoints; System integrator advice for the IIoT; TSN and real-time Ethernet; Questions to ask when selecting a VFD; Action items for an aging PLC/DCS
Robot advances in connectivity, collaboration, and programming; Advanced process control; Industrial wireless developments; Multiplatform system integration
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me