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February 13, 2017 09:26

10 Solutions to Industrial Wireless System Challenges

Advantages of Using Industrial Wireless Systems

1. Simpler, more cost effective, and more flexible set up and installation than cable-based systems

2. Bypasses physical obstacles

3. Longer life compared to slip rings (which are prone to wear) and cable lines on mobile devices

4. Reduces maintenance costs

5. Enables monitoring and control of remote stations with no cable access 

Signal Echo

Historical Challenges
• Typical open radio frequencies (900 MHz and 2.4 GHz)
tend to bounce off larger objects, metals, and concrete and
return to the transmitter, causing an “echo” or “multi-path”.
• First generation wireless systems would become confused
by the echo and cancel transmission, resulting in a “radio
null” state.
Noise
• Electromagnetic emissions created by large motors, heavy
equipment, high power generation and usage, and other
typical industrial machinery creates a high level of “noise”
that prevented early transmitters and remote nodes from
“hearing” each other.
Channel Sharing and Interference
• Radio frequencies were shared by many devices, resulting
in data confusion between those using the same channel in
the same area.

New wireless solutions

Solution 1: FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) - Data
is transmitted on a single channel at a time, but the channel is
rapidly and constantly changing or “hopping”. This scheme
requires low bandwidth.
Solution 2:
DSSS (Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum) - Data is
transmitted simultaneously over every available channel, making it a bit more reliable in “noisy” environments, but is also bandwidth intensive.

Industrial Protocols Not Supported

Historical Challenges

• Since most early wireless devices were designed for home
and inter-office use, very few engineers were addressing
the industrial protocols such as Modbus or the need to
move from wireless to RS-232, 422, or 485 supports.

 New wireless solutions

Solution: New Industrial Standard Protocols that enable
reliability, security, speed, distance, and efficiency were developed:
• Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n)
• Bluetooth (IEEE 802.15.1)
• ZigBee (IEEE 802.15.4)
• Proprietary RF (non-standard)

Distance

Historical Challenges

• Ranges of several hundred feet or more between central
control systems and remote sensors and equipment were
not supported by early wireless systems.

Solution: Industry Security Standards (IEEE 802.11i / WPA2)
• Ensure the communication being received is authentic
Solution: Firewall Protection Devices
• Filter routed and bridge traffic inside the network
Solution: Wireless Intrusion Detection Systems
• Detect and report a wide range of suspicious behaviors

 New wireless solutions

Solution: Increase in Transmit Power
• 2.4 GHz Frequency (tighter, shorter wave length)
• 900 MHz Frequency (longer wave length)
Solution: Greater Receiver Sensitivity
• Directional Antenna
• Omni Directional Antenna
Solution: Improvements in Line of Sight Awareness (LOS)
Solution: Advances in Capabilities of Receiving Data Volume
• Point to Point
• Point to Multipoint

Security

Historical Challenges
• Early adoption of the IEEE 802.11 standards created a
large number of security issues and continues to require a
high level of counter-measures to ensure the safety of data
and business systems.

New wireless solutions

Solution: Industry Security Standards (IEEE 802.11i / WPA2)
• Ensure the communication being received is authentic
Solution: Firewall Protection Devices
• Filter routed and bridge traffic inside the network
Solution: Wireless Intrusion Detection Systems
• Detect and report a wide range of suspicious behaviors

Know more about RAD-2400-IFS from Phoenix Contact

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