Wireless: Outdoor bridge, secure module, contest, modem

Recent wireless developments include Digi’s stand-alone wireless modem product line, Emerson Process Management contest for wireless innovators, Moore Industries increases security on wireless link module, and Moxa’s IP68 / IP67 rated wireless access point and bridge for outdoor use.

By Control Engineering Staff August 2, 2007

Recent wireless developments include Digi’s stand-alone wireless modem product line, Emerson Process Management contest for wireless innovators, Moore Industries increases security on wireless link module, and Moxa’s IP68 / IP67 rated wireless access point and bridge for outdoor use.

Digi International introduced the XTend and XStream radio frequency (RF) modems , and the XPress Ethernet Bridge. These stand-alone wireless modems operate within the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio frequency bands and require no configuration to provide a reliable wireless link out of the box, the company says. Receiver sensitivity provides robust communications even with interference. Modems are based on and compatible with MaxStream’s stand-alone radio modem product line and are complementary to Digi’s recently launched Drop-in Networking solutions that provide device connectivity where wired infrastructure does not exist or satisfy customer needs. “We are leveraging the MaxStream acquisition to strengthen and expand our wireless product offering,” said Larry Kraft, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Digi International. “Digi offers 3G/cellular, Wi-Fi, proprietary wireless, and ZigBee wireless technologies.” Digi’s XTend and XStream modems provide reliable serial cable replacement. The high-performance XTend operates at 900 MHz and can provide up to 40 miles of range in line-of-sight conditions. The XStream is available in both 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz models and features up to 20 miles of range in ideal conditions. All are offered in industrial-grade enclosures providing extended temperature tolerance and moisture protection. XTend modems are also offered with NEMA 4 rated enclosures for use in areas with heavy and frequent exposure to moisture. The XTend and XStream families are offered with a five-year warranty. Digi International is based in Minnetonka, MN.

Emerson Process Management , a business of Emerson, is announcing the “Smart Wireless Innovators Contest” to recognize customers for innovative applications of the company’s Smart Wireless solutions that deliver high business impact in process industry production, manufacturing, and distribution facilities. Global introduction of Smart Wireless solutions began in North America during fall 2006, and Emerson’s wireless products began shipping to users in December 2006. The realization of easy, fast commissioning and up to 90% reduction of sensor and transmitter installed cost has stirred the enthusiasm of engineers toward capturing new data to improve plant performance. “We frequently have customers trialing our Smart Wireless technologies for one reason, then finding many other good uses once they get it up and running,” said Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer for Emerson Process Management. “We are introducing this contest and award to celebrate the innovative spirit of those finding new and exciting ways to experience the value of reliable, secure and easy-to-use wireless.” Open globally to all manufacturing customers, Emerson’s “Smart Wireless Innovators Contest” will run until March 31, 2008. A panel of customer peers will judge the entries, and award prizes in two categories: Most innovative use of wireless technologies; and greatest business impact from using wireless. To qualify for the contest, applications must include at least five of Emerson’s Smart Wireless instruments with a 1420 Smart wireless gateway or a ROC800-series Remote Operations Controller with on-board wireless gateway, and AMS Device Manager software with wireless Plantweb interface. This application can be conveniently purchased and implemented as a Smart Wireless solution instrumentation order, or by using Emerson’s offering of Wireless SmartPack Starter Kits. More Emerson wireless contest details and entry forms are available . Emerson Process Management is based in Austin, TX.

Moore Industries increased security on its wireless link module with spread spectrum frequency hopping technology.

Moore Industries increased security on its WLM Wireless Link Module, using spread spectrum frequency hopping technology with robust error detection and correction. WLM, a bi-directional, wireless module, employs frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) technology and 32-bit CRC error correction for secure, robust communications. The WLM supports either Ethernet or serial (RS-485) communications at speeds up to 188 kbps and ranges up to 25 miles, and operates at FCC license-free frequency ranges of 902-928 MHz or 2.4-2.483 GHz. Only a receiver programmed with the exact same algorithm is able to listen to and follow the message, the company says, making FHSS the most secure of all the wireless technologies on the market. WLM uses orthogonal hopping routines, which allow multiple radio networks to be in the same vicinity without causing interference with each other. This is needed when designing large networks. Lab studies show that up to 15 FHSS WLM networks may be colocated; in some wireless technologies, only three networks may be colocated. WLM operates in temperatures from -40 to 167 °F (-40 to 75 °C) and humidity of 0-95% RH. Moore Industries-International Inc. is based in North Hills, CA.

Moxa Technologies Inc. offers an outdoor multipurpose wireless Access Point/ Bridge and AP Client, AWK-1200 series with IP68/67 rating.

Moxa Technologies Inc . introduced what it calls the latest in outdoor multipurpose wireless access point/ bridge and AP client, AWK-1200 series, housed in a rugged IP68/67 certified weatherproof enclosure to withstand any extreme climatic conditions. The robust features and deployment flexibility make the AWK-1200 suitable for the outdoor wireless connectivity. Compliant with IEEE 802.11 g/b, the AWK-1200 is available in two models: one is industrial IEEE802.11g/b wireless access point/bridge, and the other is industrial AP Client. IEEE 802.3 af PoE (power over Ethernet) eliminates need for expensive electrical work in outdoor environments. The products have detachable antenna design, extended temperature operation from–20 to 700 °C, and enhanced security using WEP, WPA/WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and IEEE802.1X authentication. Moxa Technologies Inc. is based in Brea, CA.

—Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief , Control Engineering

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