Industrial 5G Communications

Industrial 5G Communications
Smartphone users aren't the only ones waiting for 5g. Industrial companies are patiently looking forward to the new 5G wireless mobile standard. Owners and operators see industrial 5G as key to making their production plants and operations more flexible, more autonomous, and more efficient than ever before.

Today, most industrial facilities still communicate via wires and cables. With the advent and adoption of the new 5G communications standard, that will all change. 

With 5G peak download speeds of 20 Gb/s (gigabits per second) and 5G peak upload speeds of 10 Gb/s, wireless data transmission for comprehensive factory networks and equipment will communicate at speeds comparable or better than cables. 

The potential of 5G implementation is truly mind boggling, particularly when you consider its huge effect on Industry 4.0, making factories much more productive and less costly to operate. 5G technology has the potential to integrate picking systems, industrial robots, quality control systems, warehousing and autonomous vehicles - harmoniously tying the entire manufacturing process together through a secure, ultrafast, and robust network.

All major industries, including chemicals, primary metals, water treatment, automobiles, aerospace, power generation and oil & gas production, are biding their time and evaluating the promise of 5G's features for their processes. For example, factories will be able to simultaneously transmit data for an astounding 1 million IIoT devices per square kilometer! This easily accommodates all the wireless field instruments for a production line or even an entire plant. Speeds for industrial 5G are at the lower end of the millisecond range. This means instant response to systems upsets or process abnormalities. With 5G, the virtues of augmented reality in the industrial environment will be fully realized, opening the door for a new level of interchange between man and industrial process.

There’s nothing new about wireless communication in industry. Private LTE (Long-Term Evolution) networks are already being used, and process control equipment companies have been successfully implementing Industrial WLAN for quite some time. But since 5G is not yet widely available, Industrial WLAN research and development continues in parallel. However, these networks are nowhere near 5G in terms of performance and speed. 

Even though the international mobile radio standards organization 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) published the commercial mobile wireless network standard for 5G in late 2018,  there still are no published standards for the industrial 5G. 3GPP expects to have that completed by the middle of 2020.

Analynk Wireless, LLC
(614) 755-5091

Wireless Process Control Networks


In order to promote data sharing and analysis in embedded control networks, industrial plants, factories and process automation systems are increasingly deploying information and communications technologies. Despite the severe process control environment, as well as loss of signal propagation and interference with radio frequency (RF), wireless connections provide quick and simple access to a multitude of field tools, reducing network installation expenses and continuing maintenance outlays. This serves as an incentive to adopt industrial wireless networks depending on industry norms such as ISA100.11a, a wireless networking technology standard established by ISA (International Automation Society) and WirelessHART, a wireless sensor networking technology based on the Highway Addressable Remote Transducer Protocol (HART). 

However, wide-ranging acceptance is tentative, as industrial environments differ extensively and process control systems have a variety of critical demands for wireless networking, such as:
  • Long-term durability.
  • Low-cost operation.
  • High reliability in the harsh radio propagation environment.
  • Deterministic transmissions in shared wireless bandwidth.
Wired connections have proved efficient in promoting reliable, point-to-point communication between controller and field tools. Wired links, however, have a difficult restriction - they are unable to meet the increasing demands and future requirements to support adaptive network topology and fast reconfiguration found in new process control systems. 

Instead of setting miles of wires to connect hundreds of field tools, industrial wireless communication networks provide tailored network topology wireless links, enable plug-and-play setup, and provide reduced installation and maintenance costs.

Compared to the demands of conventional Internet data services, the requirements of wireless service quality (QoS) in the process control environment are more stringent. In mobile use cases, these include more extremely reliable transmissions as well as centralized data analytics, tighter message latency, and reduced power consumption.

For more information about wireless networking in the industrial space, contact Analynk Wireless. Visit their website at https://analynk.com, or call them at 614-755-5091.

Hazardous Area Enclosures Facilitate Plant Standards for Wireless Access Points

Hazardous Area Enclosures for Access Point
Hazardous area enclosures for wireless access point.
(Analynk)
There are often conflicts between what is needed and what is desired in many technical endeavors, and the field of industrial process control is no exception. Such a conflict between process engineers and IT managers was created by the incursion and popularity of wireless communication into the field of process measurement and control. It is, of course, a cooperative and friendly conflict, but a condition which may require some incompatible interests to be resolved.

For a number of reasons, compliance with certain norms set for the organization's wider scope and standards is advantageous for the wireless network equipment. Standardization on specific brands or hardware types can have true advantages. The tasks associated with network infrastructure back end management are less complicated when all equipment belongs to the same producer and family of products. Provisioning, which includes initial set-up, long-term management and management of unit losses, is simplified when all units are identical. The same objective is pursued by process technicians and operators in standardizing specific transmitters, valves or other parts that have various facilities throughout a plant.

The AE902-1 is designed to house the Aruba AP-318
The Analynk AE902-1 is designed to house the Aruba AP-318.
The problem occurs when the access point selected by the IT team, with all the latest standards, needs to be installed in a part of the plant categorized as hazardous (owing to the potential for flammable or explosive gases, vapors or dusts that can be ignited). There is a solution, actually a fairly simple one. Use a non-hazardous area access point (as specified or designated by the IT department) and installing it inside an access point enclosure designed for hazardous areas.

Analynk Wireless manufactures enclosures for industrial wireless access points installed in hazardous locations.  Each access point enclosure is provided with agency approved enclosures, antennas, mounting, penetrations, cabling, and power supplies. Their current product offering accommodates a wide range of wireless access point manufacturers including Symbol, Cisco, Meru, Aruba, HP, and Motorola.  Access point and Wi-Fi technology technologies change rapidly. Wireless component lifecycles are relatively short compared to other process equipment. The use of hazardous area access point enclosures provide flexibility and convenience in access point selection and upgrades.

For more information, contact Analynk Wireless by visiting https://analynk.com or by calling 614-755-5091.

Industrial Wireless Systems Radio Propagation Measurements

Radio frequency (RF) propagation measurements were conducted at three facilities representing a cross-section of different classes of industrial environments. Selected sites included a multi-acre transmission assembly factory typical of the automotive industry; a small-sized machine shop primarily engaged in metalworking located on the NIST campus in Gaithersburg; and a steam generation plant located on the NIST campus in Boulder. A spread spectrum correlation sounder was used to take the measurements at a continuum of points throughout the facility by fixing the transmitter and moving the receiver at a constant rate throughout each facility. The data collected from the RF propagation measurements of each site was analyzed. Analysis is based on channel impulse response (CIR) measurements collected during the measurement using equipment developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The results of the analysis include a tabulated summary and detailed exploration of various industry accepted channel metrics such as path loss, delay spread, and K factor. Interpretation of the measurements contributes to an improved understanding of radio frequency propagation in factories and an additional perspective on deploying wireless communication devices within factories.

This technical paper, provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), addresses concerns about the lack of industrial wireless networking reliability, determinism, and security through a multi-phased approach.


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

US Power Grids, Oil and Gas Industries, and Risk of Hacking

A report released in June, from the security firm Dragos, describes a worrisome development by a hacker group named, “Xenotime” and at least two dangerous oil and gas intrusions and ongoing reconnaissance on United States power grids.

Multiple ICS (Industrial Control Sectors) sectors now face the XENOTIME threat; this means individual verticals – such as oil and gas, manufacturing, or electric – cannot ignore threats to other ICS entities because they are not specifically targeted.


The Dragos researchers have termed this threat proliferation as the world’s most dangerous cyberthreat since an event in 2017 where Xenotime had caused a serious operational outage at a crucial site in the Middle East. 

The fact that concerns cybersecurity experts the most is that this hacking attack was a malware that chose to target the facility safety processes (SIS – safety instrumentation system).

For example, when temperatures in a reactor increase to an unsafe level, an SIS will automatically start a cooling process or immediately close a valve to prevent a safety accident. The SIS safety stems are both hardware and software that combine to protect facilities from life threatening accidents.

At this point, no one is sure who is behind Xenotime. Russia has been connected to one of the critical infrastructure attacks in the Ukraine.  That attack was viewed to be the first hacker related power grid outage.

This is a “Cause for Concern” post that was published by Dragos on June 14, 2019

“While none of the electric utility targeting events has resulted in a known, successful intrusion into victim organizations to date, the persistent attempts, and expansion in scope is cause for definite concern. XENOTIME has successfully compromised several oil and gas environments which demonstrates its ability to do so in other verticals. Specifically, XENOTIME remains one of only four threats (along with ELECTRUM, Sandworm, and the entities responsible for Stuxnet) to execute a deliberate disruptive or destructive attack.

XENOTIME is the only known entity to specifically target safety instrumented systems (SIS) for disruptive or destructive purposes. Electric utility environments are significantly different from oil and gas operations in several aspects, but electric operations still have safety and protection equipment that could be targeted with similar tradecraft. XENOTIME expressing consistent, direct interest in electric utility operations is a cause for deep concern given this adversary’s willingness to compromise process safety – and thus integrity – to fulfill its mission.

XENOTIME’s expansion to another industry vertical is emblematic of an increasingly hostile industrial threat landscape. Most observed XENOTIME activity focuses on initial information gathering and access operations necessary for follow-on ICS intrusion operations. As seen in long-running state-sponsored intrusions into US, UK, and other electric infrastructure, entities are increasingly interested in the fundamentals of ICS operations and displaying all the hallmarks associated with information and access acquisition necessary to conduct future attacks. While Dragos sees no evidence at this time indicating that XENOTIME (or any other activity group, such as ELECTRUM or ALLANITE) is capable of executing a prolonged disruptive or destructive event on electric utility operations, observed activity strongly signals adversary interest in meeting the prerequisites for doing so.”

The Argument for Hazardous Access Point Enclosures in the Rapidly Changing World of Wireless Technology

Many companies in the chemical, mining, petrochemical, pulp & paper, power generation, primary metals and pharmaceutical industries now require high-performance Wi-Fi access in potentially explosive environments. These critical applications, whether for device telemetry, network access, site-to-site connectivity, or unified communications, require the highest available Wi-Fi performance inside some of the harshest environments.

There are two ways to design Wi-Fi access points for application deployment inside explosive environments:
  1. Design and build the access point itself to operate directly inside the hazardous environment, without an external enclosure rated for the area.
  2. Use an access point designed for non-hazardous locations, and install it inside an access point enclosure specifically designed for that hazardous classification. 
The first approach is cost effective when underlying technology is slow-to-change, stable, and the pressure to change is years off.

The second approach, using an external access point enclosure, is the best path to take in situations where the underlying technology is changing rapidly.

It only took 10 years for Wi-Fi to move from 802.11n, to 802.11ac Wave 1, to 802.11ac Wave 2. No one wants to buy and install old technology. The thought of implementing a 2007 technology (802.11n for instance) for an application today is silly. Instead, today you would use 802.11ac Wave 1, especially in industrial environments, because of its outstanding multipath performance in the presence of metal. What will you use tomorrow? Who knows. But you should plan accordingly.

Based on typical amortization rates, a customer who wants to stay on top of the latest Wi-Fi technology would update their equipment roughly once every 4 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, and 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.

If you are working with rapidly changing standards, and technologies such as Wi-Fi whose equipment is constantly upgraded, purchasing and installing a hazardous area enclosure, and swapping out access points as technology changes, is clearly the more economical solution in the long run.

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

Sensor Network Monitoring: Integrate or Separate?

Analynk AE-902
Analynk AE-902 ATEX Zone 2 and Class 1,
Division 2 Groups A, B, C & D Enclosure
with ISA100a/WirelessHART Gateway and
Aruba AP-318 Access Point
Reprinted from "Built to Blast: Industrial Internet of Things Infrastructure for Hazardous Environments"  by Aruba NetworksFull text white paper can be downloaded here.

Deterministic behavior has long been a requirement for critical control networks in potentially explosive environments, and industrial customers have relied on ATEX Zone 2 or Class 1 Division 2 WirelessHART or ISA100a for years to monitor flow, pressure, temperature, and other wireless sensors. These rudimentary control standards lack advanced cybersecurity features but are very high-speed and low power, making them attractive to oil and gas customers in particular.

Customers are often confused about the pros and cons of purchasing an access point with an integrated 2.4GHz WirelessHART or ISA100a sensor network transceiver, or purchasing a separate control gateway and access point. One of the issues with an integrated access point is that the ideal location for a sensor network antenna can be very different than for a Wi-Fi antenna. The former needs to be within line-of-site of the sensor mesh, while the latter needs to be in line-of-site of roaming client devices and potentially other backhaul access points.

A second reason for remotely locating the sensor network antenna is to avoid interference between the 2.4GHz WirelessHART or ISA100A sensor network and the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network. WirelessHART uses 2.4GHz 802.15.4-2006 (ZigBee) radios with a channel hopping mesh and time- synchronized messaging. ISA100a also has a single physical layer using 2.4GHz 802.15.4-2006 radios with listen-before-talk operation, short messages, low duty cycle, and adaptive frequency hopping. While both control networks are intended to operate near other wireless network, the reality is that the RF signal degrades with in-band interference, and also interferes with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi channels. Frequency planning, antenna location, and antenna separation must all be considered during the design and implementation phases.

Typically the sensor and Wi-Fi network antennas must be separated by at least one meter, potentially more depending on the frequency of sensor transmissions and the power output and antenna propagation pattern of the Wi-Fi access point. By definition that means one of the systems will require an external antenna and lead-in cable.

Another reason for separating the sensor gateway and Wi-Fi access point was touched on earlier: Wi-Fi is changing at a very fast clip whereas WirelessHART and ISA100a are not. Staying current with technological changes in Wi-Fi requires more frequent updates than do sensor networks, for which change has been very slow. That calculus may start changing after 2021 by which time the new 802.11ax standard could start displacing WirelessHART and ISA100a, leading to hybrid deployments in which new 802.11ax devices have to coexist with WirelessHART and ISA100a. Until that time, separating the sensor gateway from the access point allows RF performance to be optimized for each system while minimizing the impact of RF technology transitions to existing infrastructure.

Technology suppliers have recognized the benefits of building separate sensor gateways for use in potentially explosive environments, and there are multiple vendors for these devices. For example, ArubaEdge technology partners build ATEX Zone 2, Class 1 Division 2 gateways for WirelessHART and ISA100a control networks. These gateways can be connected to a nearby Aruba switch or access point using an Ethernet interface cable up to 100 meters in length, longer if a fiber optics adapter and cable is used. Gateways with a built-in antenna and don’t require a remote antenna or lead-in cable.
If the sensor gateway and Aruba access point must be co-located for cost, convenience, or antenna positioning, an ArubaEdge partner gateway circuit card can be installed in the same explosion-proof housing as the Aruba access point. That design requires an external sensor network antenna and lead-in cable, however, it allows the Wi-Fi access point to be updated as needed without needlessly replacing the sensor gateway.

To learn more, read the entire white paper from Aruba Networks. You can download it from the Analynk website here.


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.

Come Visit Analynk, LLC at Aruba Networks Atmosphere '19 on April 1, 2 & 3


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