Wireless cornerstone supports digitalization

2018-01-02 - Industrial networks of all kinds from Ethernet to cloud-based services and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are extended and assisted by wireless devices. Here's how to save resources and deliver signals. - Control Global article by Jim Montague - December 13, 2017
Maybe it's because it's mostly invisible, but wireless networking in process control isn't getting the attention and respect it deserves.

Wireless may be intangible, but it's not insubstantial because it's holding up the capabilities and operations of a large part of today's industrial networks, extending the reach of Ethernet, and enabling cloud-based computing services, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and other forms of digitalization. Pretty heavy lifting for a technology that seems to have no substance.

However, just like "computing," "software," "networking" and other all-pervasive technical shifts that are so huge that they impact everything, wireless may also be reaching a level of success where it's everywhere. Ironically, like the other big topics, this is the point where it also become seamless, gradually taken for granted, and fades into the technological background. Before it does, however, it might be good to get a little refresher on what wireless can do and how to apply it properly.

Bert Williams, global marketing director forĀ ABB Wireless, adds that, "It's important to remember that one 'I' in IIoT stands for 'Internet,' and one way to communicate over the Internet is wireless. Many of the same tools used for years on the IT and enterprise side can be applied to field networks including wireless. The question is how to scale up for IIoT applications? We can control wireless communication network management systems with our SuprOS solution, which offers fault, configuration, administration, performance, security (FCAPS) management."

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