Top 6 Reasons to Deploy Wireless Networking in Industrial Facilities

Wireless technologies offer great value over wired solutions. A reduction in cost is just one of the many benefits of switching to the wireless networking system. There are many benefits, including enhanced management of legacy systems that were previously not possible with a wired networking connection. Here is an overview of some of the value-added benefits of adopting wireless networking in industrial plants.

#6 - Efficient Information Transfer

A significant advantage over wired networks is that the time required to reach a device is reduced. This results in a more efficient transfer of information between network segments that are geographically separated. The industry wireless networking standards use IP addresses to allow remote access to data from field devices.

#5 - Operational Efficiencies

Migrating to wireless networking can help in improving operational efficiencies as well. Plant managers can troubleshoot and diagnose issues more easily. The system facilitates predictive maintenance by allowing the monitoring of remote assets.

#4  - Enhanced Flexibility 

Enhanced flexibility is another reason for deploying wireless networking solutions in an industrial setting. Additional points can be awarded easily in an incremental manner. The wireless system can also integrate with legacy systems without any issues.

#3 - Improved Information Accuracy 

Adopting wireless networking also results in improved accuracy of information. The wireless system is not prone to interferences. As a result, the system ensures consistent and timely transfer of information from one node to another.

#2 - Reduced Installation Costs

Savings in installation costs is the key benefit of a wireless networking system. The cost of installing a wireless solution is significantly lower as compared to its wired counterpart. Installing a wireless network requires less planning. Extensive surveys are not required to route the wires to control rooms. This reduced installation cost is the main reason industrial setups should consider going wireless instead of having a wired networking system.

#1 - Human Safety 

The most significant factor that should influence the decision to migrate to wireless networking is the human safety factor. Wireless technologies allow safer operations, reducing exposure to harmful environments. For instance, a wireless system can be used in taking a reading and adjusting valves without having to go to the problematic area to take measurements.

Analynk Wireless, LLC
(614) 755-5091

Protecting Wireless Infrastructure in Potentially Explosive Environments

Wireless access point enclosure"Built to Blast: Industrial Internet of Things Infrastructure for Hazardous Environments" 

Many chemical, defense, flight line, food processing, fueling, mining, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical applications require high-performance Wi-Fi access in potentially explosive environments. Whether for device telemetry, network access, site-to-site connectivity, or unified communications, these applications require the highest available Wi-Fi performance in the harshest of environments.

Wi-Fi access points can be designed to operate directly in explosive environments without an additional protective enclosure, or they can be designed for use in non-explosive environments and operated inside of an enclosure rated for the application. The former approach is cost-effective when the underlying technology driving the equipment is established, stable, and unlikely to need an upgrade for years; IoT speed, position, pressure, and temperature sensors fall into that category.

The latter approach – using an external enclosure – is the most practical if the underlying wireless technology is changing rapidly. That’s because the cost of purchasing and installing an explosion-proof enclosure can represent from 4 to 20 times the cost of the access point the enclosure is designed to protect. It’s substantially less expensive to swap out the access point, leaving the protective enclosure untouched, than to install a completely new enclosure with every technology upgrade.

In less than ten years the Wi-Fi industry has moved from 802.11n to 802.11ac Wave 1 to 802.11ac Wave 2. Just as no customer would buy a new truck based on a 10 year old design, neither would they consider deploying 802.11n access points based on technology from 2007. At a minimum they would use 802.11ac Wave 1, especially in industrial environments, because of 802.11ac’s outstanding multipath performance in the presence of metal.

Using typical amortization rates a customer that wants to stay abreast of the latest Wi-Fi technology would update equipment roughly once every four years. If we assume that an access point designed for uncontrolled outdoor environments with wide temperature range operation has a List price of $1,500, the associated Class 1 Division 2 enclosure Lists for $3,500, and the installation of just the enclosure (excluding access point set-up and commissioning) costs $2,500, then customers will save $4,500 with every turn of access point technology if the enclosure is retained.

For more information about hazardous area wireless access point enclosures, contact Analynk by calling (614) 755-5091 or visit their website at https://analynk.com.

Regulations and Standards for Equipment Operating in Explosive Atmospheres

Reprinted from "Built to Blast: Industrial Internet of Things Infrastructure for Hazardous Environmentsby Aruba Networks.  Full text white paper can be downloaded here.

A potentially explosive atmosphere exists when air gas, vapor, mist, or dust – alone or in combination – are present under circumstances in which it or they can ignite under specified operating conditions. Places with potentially explosive atmospheres are called “hazardous” or “classified” areas or locations.

Multiple local and international regulations are in place to mitigate the risk posted by operating networks and IoT devices in potentially explosive atmospheres. Increasingly these regulations are becoming harmonized under a framework developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and European and US standards.

ATEX Directives

ATEX, derived from the French phrase “Atmosphères Explosibles,” is a European regulatory framework for the manufacture, installation, and use of equipment in explosive atmospheres. It consists of two European Union (EU) directives:

  • 1999/92/EC which defines the minimum safety requirements for workers in hazardous areas; and
  • 2014/34/EU which covers equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

These two directives define the essential health and safety requirements, as well as the conformity assessment procedures, that need to be applied before products can be used in the EU market.

IEC Ex System (IECEx)

IECEx is a voluntary certification program that validates compliance with IEC standards related to safety in explosive atmospheres. Details about IECEx, its coverage areas, and conformity mark system can be found at www.iecex.com.

European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC)

CENELEC was formed to facilitate a consensus-building process between European and international electrical standards activities. In 1996 CENELEC and the IEC formalized a framework of cooperation through an agreement on common standards planning and parallel voting that is known as the Dresden Agreement. As a result of this initiative both CENELEC and IEC have similar standards for explosive environments.

National Electrical Code (NEC)

NEC defines the standards for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment in the United States, and its standards are coordinated with those of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). NFPA 70 Articles 500 thru 510 address safe practices for the location and operation of electrical equipment in hazardous locations installations.
Additional national standards relating to hazardous environments may be in effect in different countries, however, there has been a concerted effort in recent years to harmonize local standards with the standards referenced above.

About Analynk

Analynk, LLC manufacturers hazardous area wireless access points. More information on their products can be found here.
https://analynk.com
614-755-5091

IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) Wireless Networking Considerations in Hazardous Environments

Industrial Internet of Things Wireless Networking
BUILT TO BLAST
Industrial Internet of Things Infrastructure for
Hazardous Environments
Industry groups and standards bodies have collaborated to address these issues by classifying explosive materials and defining standards under which networking equipment and Internet of Things (IoT) devices can be safely operated in their presence. The work has been conducted by different organizations, in different regions, and it can be challenging to understand which standards are applicable under different scenarios.

This white paper examines the different categories of explosive risks, which standards to apply under different scenarios, how network infrastructure can be deployed in explosive environments, and how sensor systems can be integrated with this infrastructure. The goal is to enable end customers and resellers to select the network infrastructure, enclosures, and associated systems that are best suited to each scenario.

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Imagine an opportunity to meet and rub shoulders with over 3000 of your peers to learn, collaborate and influence the direction of Aruba products. Only at Atmosphere can you directly interface with those that build the industry’s best enterprise-class technologies in wireless & wired infrastructure and software, security, location services, and analytics & assurance.

Industrial Wireless Security

Industrial Wireless Security
Industrial control systems (ICS) cybersecurity is a branch of general cybersecurity in which the systems being protected have physical characteristics which if compromised can lead to down-time, injury or death, and economic loss.

Industrial control systems include supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, localized work-cells, enterprise control systems, and cloud-based factory collection systems. Traditional information technology (IT) systems differ from operational technology (OT) systems primarily in their cybersecurity priorities. In general, IT systems defend against data extractions. Encryption used to provide confidentiality is of primary concern. In OT systems, confidentiality is no longer of paramount concern. While eavesdropping can lead to reverse engineering of proprietary factory methods and design, it is usually more important to keep the factory running. Therefore, technologies must assure that both cybersecurity controls and cyber-attack do not limit or prevent the capability of the factory running with high availability. Table 1 lists the priorities of IT and OT systems. It is important for IT professionals to recognize that wireless security practices used in the office may not be available for factory deployments. If they are available, they may not be desirable to maintain system availability. Securing the industrial network can be summarized in the following considerations:
  • Secure the physical environment; 
  • Secure the end-points; 
  • Secure the controller; 
  • Secure network transmissions/data. 
Industrial wireless networks have the same consideration as wired networks with the addition of protecting the electromagnetic spectrum allocated for the industrial wireless network operation.
Table 1 - Typical Priorities of IT and OT Systems
The number of devices connecting to industrial networks is increasing at a rapid rate. It exposes systems to security breaches and cyberattacks. As a result, security is paramount for industrial operations. Some manufacturers think wireless will create new vulnerabilities in the network that may result in potential threats. Just making the wireless network accessible through a password is not adequate. One key concern is how to identity and eliminate rogue access points. Therefore, wireless intrusion detection systems and intrusion prevention systems are in demand.

In addition, isolation of production devices on a separate network from corporate networks, internet traffic, and phone and surveillance systems is necessary. In other words, one can employ an “island” approach to networking that limits the movement of traffic and devices between islands. By properly segmenting a network, it can limit movement between networks to appropriate devices and block the movement of devices that are unnecessary or provide little value.


Reprinted from Guide to Industrial Wireless Systems Deployments produced by The National Institute of Standards and Technology. A free copy of this entire publication is available here.

The AE902-1 Hazardous Area Class I, Division 2, Access Point Enclosure for Aruba AP-318


The AE902-1 is designed to house the Aruba AP-318 dual band access point for use in the hazardous areas. The enclosure, all hardware and antennas are rated for Class I, Division 2, groups A, B, C, & D. A POE injector and AC to DC power supply, are also included. The enclosure is made of 316 stainless steel and has a NEMA 4X rating for harsh conditions. Optional directional antennas are available and antennas can be mounted up to 150’ away from the enclosure.

Analynk Wireless
https://analynk.com
(614) 755-5091

Reliability of Wireless Instrumentation in Oil & Gas Industry

Wireless Instrumentation in Oil & GasAbstract

Wireless technologies are integrated into almost every part of our daily lives. Wireless technologies for Instrumentation offers significant cost savings such as faster commissioning, efficient maintenance when compared to traditional wired networks. The value of this cost savings are particularly significant in the highly competitive Oil and Gas industry, where aging facilities are common and upgrades are expensive. There are still some uncertainties on Wireless technologies in the industry due to its unknown performance characteristics such as stability and reliability of wireless communications at offshore and onshore facilities. Due to this, the acceptance of wireless instrumentation in the oil and gas industry has been slow even though the first wireless sensors are available since 2007. Reliability of wireless Instrumentation is critical as automation systems rely on accurate information for operators to make informed decisions for control and safe operations.

1. Introduction

As the world’s oil giants are looking for new ways to improve costs in engineering, commissioning, installation and operations, wireless instrumentation represents major cost savings through elimination of local field cable, associated field-run cable trays and ease of maintenance. The production facilities are more often subject to changes which are expensive and wireless instrumentation provides flexibility to a larger degree compared to the traditional wired instruments during such upgrades. For offshore facilities, weight savings is also a preferred advantage introduced by wireless instrumentation. The main contributions to weight savings for wireless instrumentation also comes from the elimination of cabling, cable trays, junction boxes, I/O cabinets and so on. In Brownfield projects, the significance of cost savings and weight reduction by using wireless instrumentation is even higher.

There are challenges to use wireless technologies for control and safety applications. For control applications, the requirement is to have a common timing domain for all components in the system. This means that the clocks of wireless sensors and actuators and the wireless gateway should be synchronized with the clocks of the controllers and control system. For most safety applications, continuous monitoring is necessary and a short response time needs to be guaranteed if a safety critical situation arises. Thus the primary difficulty in designing a wireless safety system is having a guaranteed short latency while not depleting the batteries. In addition, full control of all network message traffic is required, and loss of contact with a device must be identified immediately.

2. ISA 100.11a and WirelessHART

WirelessHART enables wireless transmission of HART messages, and was the first standard to be released which specifically targets industrial applications. Wireless HART was approved as IEC standard 62591 in 2010. The standard WirelessHART Architecture is shown in Figure 1. The Wireless HART devices are devices with WirelessHART built in or an existing installed HART- enabled device with a WirelessHART adapter attached to it and Wireless Access points enable communication between these devices and host applications connected to a high-speed existing plant communications network. ISA100.11a standard compliant wireless devices demonstrated interoperability in the same network and communication performance of the multiple vendor devices are nearly the same. Both WirelessHART and ISA100.11a are based on the IEEE Std. 802.15.4 PHY and MAC, although the MAC has been modified to allow for frequency hopping.

Furthermore, WirelessHART and ISA100.11a operates in the popular 2.4 GHz band, which allows for global availability. TDMA with frequency hopping is used as channel access method, and with a full mesh network topology, Wireless HART offers self-configuring and self- healing multi-hop communication.

ISA100.11a wireless technology offers sufficient performance to provide a secure, stable and reliable network for non-critical monitoring and control applications deploying into actual field sites. ISA100.11a supports both routing and non-routing devices, so network topologies can be either star, star-mesh or full mesh depending on the configuration and capabilities of the devices in the network. An ISA100.11a network is able to carry multiple field bus protocols, such as Foundation Fieldbus, PROFIBUS and HART. There is also integrated support for IPv6 traffic and routing in the network layer.

Both standards are designed to support scalability, low energy consumption, ability to work in legacy environments, security, and ability to function fully in environments where devices must coexist with our wireless devices and networks. The strict and limited approach of WirelessHART ensures that practically all WirelessHART devices will have identical behavior, regardless of design and implementation choices made by the equipment providers. The wide range of available optional and configurable parameters in ISA100.11a allows for great flexibility for adapting network behavior to various application requirements. WirelessHART is a wireless extension of the wired HART Field Communication Protocol Specification. The ISA100.11a application layer is object oriented, and implements tunneling features that allow devices to encapsulate foreign protocols and transport them through the network.

Wireless Network Architecture
Figure 1. Wireless Network Architecture

3. Security

Security is always a concern in any network, wireless networks are considered to present distinctive challenges. Because the wireless transmissions can travel for a considerable distance, it is important that the network be adequately secured against monitoring and intrusion. The WirelessHART standard mandates that networks employ a multilayered approach to network security. Both transmitter and receiver must authenticate with the network control system. Transmissions are encrypted using a 128-bit NIST-certified algorithm and verified for completeness and accuracy upon reception. Keys are managed by the gateway and rotated automatically. This combination of authentication, encryption, verification, and key management makes a wireless network as secure as a wired system.

4. Cost Savings

A wireless network requires none of the infrastructure improvements like cost of a measurement loop in the cable, conduit, and multiplexing hardware required to connect the sensor to the facility’s DCS (Distributed Control System), and the resultant savings are substantial. Perhaps the most attractive attribute of a wireless network is that installation cost is significantly reduced when compared with that of an equivalent wired system. A wireless network requires none of these infrastructure improvements, and the resultant savings is significant.
In addition to delivering significant labor and material cost reductions, deploying wireless networks can be done much faster and with lower project management overhead. Once installed, wireless networks can be easily and inexpensively expanded to include additional measurements points for simply the cost of the transmitter. With an installed wireless network this investment can be further leveraged by providing wireless coverage in different parts of the facility. The wireless networks now a days only requires minimal maintenance as the advanced transmitters utilize Time Synchronized Mesh Protocol (TSMP) to carefully control the timing of each transmission. This enables each transmitter to keep its radio and processor powered down until it is time to send or receive a transmission due to which battery life typically lasts for several years. Wireless Instrumentation are self-organizing and eliminates site surveys.

5. Reliability

The primary concern of reliability with wireless networks is based on the assurance of data transmission from the field device to the WirelessHART gateway. The WirelessHART auto routing meshing capabilities are spontaneously managed and result in quick resumption of service in data transmission links in the event of a hindrance. This auto routing capability minimizes or eliminates data transmission interruption. Since data transmission is digital, the data measured or transmitted to the field device reflects values at the automation system. To ensure reliability, digital wireless protocols such as WirelessHART have inherent error checking functions to ensure signals don’t suffer from drift or spikes, any corrupt data is flagged and retransmission is requested, retransmission mechanisms to resend data if it becomes corrupt, reconstruction of partially scrambled data packets.
Electronic Wave Interference is the greatest barrier for adoption of industrial wireless technology for automation in oil and gas industries. Process automation production facilities are constructed using a large amount of metal equipment such as tanks, boilers, pipes, and mounting apparatus. As a result, the facility itself is the main obstacle for wireless communication technology because metal materials readily reflect radio waves. Technologies such as Frequency-Hopping Spread-Spectrum (FHSS), Direct-Sequence Spread-Spectrum (DSSS) Technology or Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing should be considered so that data signals travel through a radio frequency.

Modern wireless networks offer a reliable upgrade path that even provides some surprising benefits when compared to traditional copper networks. With wireless technology, inherent mechanisms make use of redundant paths to route data. Wireless repeaters can be added to increase the reliability of a specific wireless network, and reliability can be further enhanced by the use of redundant gateways. Including WirelessHART as part of the core design of the field device network infrastructure creates inherent design flexibility, which can be used to increase reliability and reduce required maintenance. This allows network design to include the use of wired fieldbus and wireless networks depending on the specific application. Using wireless field devices and networks as an additional technology will enhance the overall robustness of the field device network architecture. It will also save time in terms of inspections, while eliminating potential for design error and reducing complexity. Fewer wires mean reduced design intervention in terms of routing and terminations, and faster repairs in the event of any incidents.

Design for wireless instrumentation should start from the planning phase and before commissioning of the wireless network by performing the site engineering to ensure a good network design, considering communication distances, extent of obstructions, multipath environments. Conduct the network engineering such as layout planning, data publishing period, number of retries. Validate the network planning by measuring RSSIs and PERs at the pre-commissioning stage after deploying the devices.

To ensure Wireless Instrumentation is stable and reliable, use a license-free and application-free radio spectrum throughout the world so that the wireless radios behave the same in different countries or regions; design field devices for low power consumption for small battery sizes and long battery life; Implement data encryption schemes, device authorization in networks and, certification of devices to address security concerns; include communication re-try functions and provide flexibility for network configurations for stability and reliability of communications, implement channel-hoping scheme and channel black/white listing capabilities for co- existence with or interference from other wireless radio applications sharing the 2.4GHz spectrum. To mitigate the effects of interference, wireless protocols may employ various coexistence mechanisms. In WirelessHART and ISA100.11a, clear channel assessment (CCA) and channel blacklisting are the weapons of choice to combat the degrading influence from other wireless networks.

6. Conclusion

Oil and Gas industry may still retain wired instrumentation for implementing critical control and safety instrumented loops, and for processes requiring high speed communications. There are still concerns that high speed applications may not be suitable for wireless due to potential lags in communications, or asynchronous communications between wireless devices. The recommendations by experts are to use wireless where it is most appropriate to supplement and enhance the overall integrity of the I/O infrastructure such as wireless instruments are changing the scope of what is possible in process analytical measurement. Implementing wireless instrumentation in instances like offshore drilling or well head monitoring application will certainly save costs and provides safety in the risky and extreme offshore conditions.

As experience with wireless technology grows, this attitude is shifting, with wireless becoming the default user selection for well-proven applications. Their low cost and ease of implementation make it practical to measure points that are prohibitively expensive to wire. The improvements in process awareness and redundant measurement allow oil and gas operators to tighten process control, increase performance and extend the time between maintenance shutdowns. In situations where speed-of-deployment and time-to-revenue are critical, wireless is by far the best alternative. New advanced wireless systems provide comprehensive solutions for implementing a modern self-organizing network.

New development projects should plan with a wireless strategy in mind. Even though development projects traditionally rely on well proven technology, time has definitely come to offer wireless technology the attention it deserves in the planning process considering the cost benefits it offers for both green field and brownfield projects. Although at the planning stage all application areas or possibilities of wireless technology may not be obvious, designing the oil and gas facility with a strategy for wireless instrumentation and also preparing for a wireless infrastructure should be a part of the design specification.


Citation: Smitha Gogineni, “Reliability of Wireless Instrumentation in Oil & Gas Industry.” Journal of Instrumentation Technology, vol. 3, no. 1 (2016): 1-3. doi: 10.12691/jit-3-1-1.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Analynk Exhibiting at Aruba Atmosphere '19


Atmosphere is the annual Aruba meeting and convention for innovators in the field of networking, security, IoT, mobility and the cloud. Atmosphere provides attendees an opportunity to meet and rub shoulders with over 3000 peers to learn, collaborate and influence the direction of Aruba products, all with the common goal to build the industry’s best enterprise-class technologies in wireless & wired infrastructure and software, security, location services, and analytics & assurance.

Industrial Wireless Networks

Industrial wireless networks (IWNs) are a key enabler of many aspects of advanced manufacturing. IWNs promise lower installation costs compared with wired alternatives, increased operational flexibility, improved factory visibility, and enhanced mobility. Wireless networks are not dissimilar to wired networks with the key exception being the transmission medium. Wired networks typically operate over copper wires, coaxial cable, or fiber optic cable depending on the network type. Wireless networks operate without wires or cables using the electromagnetic propagation. As such, wireless networks operate within a shared medium that is publicly accessible. A listing of wireless technologies is listed below:

Home and Office
This includes standards-based communications system typically found in the office environment but may be useful for the factory. Includes IEEE 802.11 variants and Wi-Fi compliant devices. Bluetooth also falls into this category.

Instrumentation
Includes systems specifically designed for factory operation. IEEE 802.15.4 standards such as International Society of Automation (ISA) 100.11a, WirelessHART (IEC 62591:2016), IEC 62601, and ZigBee fall into this category. High-performance standards built on IEEE 802.11 include the Wireless Networks for Industrial Automation - Factory Automation (WIA-FA) IEC 62948. Many exceptional proprietary options exist as well.

Wide Area Sensing
Some applications require the ability to transmit over long distances with minimal power to conserve battery life for sensing and control over wide geographical distances. Examples include LoRaWAN and Sigfox as well as modes of 4G and 5G cellular radio standards.

Other commercial
This category includes systems such as satellite, cellular, directional microwave data links, optical (visible light), and land-mobile radio. This category includes technologies supporting video and voice communication.


Why Wireless Instrumentation for Industrial Process Control?


Reasons why wireless instrumentation is the right choice for industrial process control.

Analynk Wireless
https://analynk.com
(614) 755-5091

Manufacturer of HazaLynk™ Wireless Products for Hazardous Areas and Sensalynk™ Single & Multi-point Wireless Transmitters, Receivers, Repeaters