Wireless family secures LAN outdoors, inside

By Control Engineering Staff September 7, 2006
Siemens’ Scalance W provides weather proof LAN infrastructure

Siemens Energy & Automation entered the enterprise network market with their Scalance W wireless LAN, a family of rugged, wireless LAN products that reportedly make it simple to install, operate, and manage a secure enterprise WLAN-indoors or out. Scalance W wireless product family provides access points, client modules and management tools, with the enterprise-ready security features for WLAN customers.

Siemens designed the family for industrial use on the factory floor, where configurations demand flexibility in deployment. As such, Scalance W access points are self-enclosed devices.

These networking products support a range of WLAN WiFi standards, including:

  • 802.11a, for operation up to 54 megabit/second in the 5 GHz band;

  • 802.11b, for speeds up to 11 mbit/s at 2.4 GHz; and

  • 802.11g, for speeds up to 54 mbit/s at 2.4 GHz.

The family supports WiFi Protected Access (WPA) specification and the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), for 128-bit encryption, along with MAC address filtering. Scalance W supports the standard Point Coordinated Function (PCF) protocol and Industrial PCF (iPCF), which offers predictable response times and roaming times of less than 50 msec.

Customers can deploy access points either as self-contained “fat” units that provide all transmission, security, and management functions, or as “thin” access points that work in conjunction with central controllers from numerous suppliers. The thin configuration allows for more flexibility in deployment, along with centralized administration, management and security and can reduce the possibility of configuration errors while lowering total cost of ownership by simplifying network upgrades and ongoing maintenance.

Scalance W also offers a high level of management control over traffic patterns, with a patented Quality of Service (QoS) feature that gives preference to traffic from critical clients.

True to its industrial roots, access points are housed in an enclosure that can withstand harsh environments: vibration, extreme temperatures, dust, and water. The devices can also be mounted virtually anywhere, inside or out.

Siemens to host Ethernet conference
In separate but related news, Siemens will, for the first time, hold its Annual Industrial Ethernet Symposium in the U.S. this fall. Scheduled for Oct. 3-4, 2006, the symposium will be held at the Westin Michigan Avenue Hotel in downtown Chicago. The event will be moderated by David Humphrey, senior analyst, ARC Advisory Group, and is expected to attract more than 300 participants from 20 countries. Collins Hemingway, former marketing director of Microsoft and a best-selling author, will provide the keynote address. The symposium will include two days of workshops covering best practice examples of Ethernet in automation.

The Industrial Ethernet Symposium will feature presentations from a wide variety of industry and technology experts, industry analysts, and “best practice” customer case histories, which detail the continuing benefits of Industrial Ethernet. While the symposium is organized by Siemens, participation and presentation opportunities will be open to representatives from all industrial Ethernet organizations, including competition. Panelists from five industrial Ethernet consortia including ODVA, Modbus-IDA, EtherCAT, Ethernet PowerLink and Profibus Trade Organization (PTO International) will present their views on the value of using Ethernet at all levels of the automation pyramid and answer questions from the moderator and the audience.

The event will feature a Micro-Fair with interactive exhibits featuring the latest industrial Ethernet technology. Registration and additional symposium details are available by visiting: www.siemens.com/ies2006 .

Edited by Charlie Masi ,
senior editor , Control Engineering