Can you picture wireless running your plant?

industrial network

Wireless is a growing part of the industrial manufacturing landscape to connect from enterprise to plant. Have you considered how standard wireless technology has advanced to be much more capable and able to deliver a clearer picture of what is happening for hard to reach devices in manufacturing plants?

You’ve probably noticed that your iPhone takes some pretty good pictures. Detailed, bright, featuring stark contrasts between different colors that make each light in a city’s skyline stand out. 

Some of these crisp photos are the product of high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging. Instead of taking a single picture at single exposure level with a limited contrast range like in normal camera, the iPhone’s HDR camera takes multiple pictures of the same image at different exposure levels. Then, it pieces these pictures together to create a photo that more accurately captures the level of detail and color intensity found in the actual scene, closer to the image seen by the human eye. 

Interestingly enough, these cameras can teach us an important lesson about wireless networks – that interference isn’t always a bad thing. 

When managers consider implementing a wireless network, interference often is a major concern. This has been a legitimate concern in the past, because their facilities are full of metal walls, shelves and ceilings that could reflect and skew wireless signals and interrupt their operations. 

But wireless technology has come a long way. 

Multiple-in-Multiple-Out (MIMO) is a new technology adopted by new IEEE 802.11Wi-Fi standards. Under 802.11n and 802.11ac, the antennas in the access points are able to use this interference constructively. Like HDR cameras, these antennas receive the various reflected signals and, using digital signal processing, stitch them together into a unified, clear signal. 

Instead of fighting one another, these reflections can paint a clearer picture of the signal – enhancing its range and quality and transforming the old foe of interference into a friend.

The convergence of enterprise and industrial networks are being aided today by advances in wireless technology and a strong network fabric. Learn more about industrial wireless at http://www.industrial-ip.org/knowledge-center/solutions/mobility and about how Panduit enterprise wireless infrastructure solutions and industrial network architecture can help you get the clearest picture from enterprise to plant.

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