Tips and Tricks: 9 tips for a smarter wireless industrial workforce

Nine tips help enable an industrial wireless mobile workforce, including standards, self-healing technologies, and the right blend of hardware and software.


These nine tips help with selecting, integrating, and enabling an industrial wireless mobile workforce.

1) Standards-based solutions: Ensure suppliers provide open standards based solutions—this is particularly important when choosing wireless mobility systems.

2) Self-healing wireless: System integrators can provide good interference detection and mitigation wireless solutions that can automatically change channels to maintain continuity, which reduces operating expenses.

3) Hardware vs. software: It is better to use wireless systems with specialized hardware and software implementation rather than the older software implementations when analyzing interference.

4) Security is paramount: Look for systems that can display and map any devices that affect security and that provide the ability to customize alerts by location, for example, a specific floor of a building.

5) Involve the workers: Employees are far more positive when involved in the projects as part of the feedback process.

6) Evolve standards: As the industry matures, companies will partner to bring together the best of their expertise. Some products will be jointly branded to satisfy the IT engineer and the controls and automation engineer.

7) iPads on the plant floor: Newer generations of workers are increasingly mobile, increasingly technophile, and are expecting mobile tools and devices to do their jobs.

8) Solutions with rogue access detection: Intrusion detection systems and intrusion prevention systems have been designed to address security issues, such as how rogue access points can open up security holes in an enterprise or controls network.

9) Impact of video: Simple devices like wireless video cameras or analog cordless phones can accidentally cause a total jamming of your network. Integrated spectrum intelligence and spectrum management are very effective for identifying these types of security threats.

- Peter Granger is senior manager, Cisco Systems. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering. This is part of the March 2012 cover story for the Control Engineering North American print and digital edition.

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