Archive for category ISA 100

Industrial Wireless 101: Free access to webinar recordings

In the past month, I’ve focused several articles on industrial wireless technology. If you’re interested in learning more, here are several webinar recordings you can watch on your own time that will give you more insight into how wireless works, and how companies are using it to extend that measurement base and get process information where they need it to go, even on a limited budget.

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Hurry up and wait: My OneWireless incremental firmware update story

We keep a Honeywell XYR6000 field transmitter network setup at the Lesman offices for training, customer demonstrations, and site surveys. And part of my job is to keep the system in working order.

Honeywell releases incremental firmware updates when they need to fix a bug or add functionality to the systems.  I’d downloaded both the 201.1 and 202.1 update files from the Honeywell website, but had procrastinated in doing the installation. (Never happens to you, right?)

When I got around to doing the updates today, I pulled out the wireless device manager (WDM) manual [1.8MB PDF]. and turned to section 6.2, page 131. It has about 10 pages of step-by-step instructions on the update/upgrade process. 

But then, I found myself wishing for another of those “missing pages from the manual”. While it has all the steps, here’s what’s missing: A map that tells me how long the steps take.

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Two different approaches to industrial networking

This morning, I came across two articles I thought were worth sharing. They’re both about industrial networks, but from two entirely different angles.

The first article is written by a network engineer at a manufacturing plant. The gist of it is something we at Lesman talk about often with our customers: Buy what you need. In this case, he’s talking about Ethernet switches for light manufacturing and assembly operations, where a field-hardened industrial ethernet switch may be overkill (and out of your budget).

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Industrial Wireless 101: Why do we need three frequency bands?

Regardless of what information you need to send, or where you need to send it, if your data is going “over the air”, you’ll need to choose a frequency in one of three ranges that do not compete with the FCC licensed bands for radio transmissions.

These three ISM (industrial, scientific, medical) bands are 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5 GHz. They’ve often been described as the industrial equivalent to Citizens’ Band radios, specified so they don’t interfere with broadcast radio signals.

History with technology would lead you to believe that the more Hertz you have, the better your radios will perform. But what you need to understand is that there’s a tradeoff. Each band has its strengths and weaknesses, and there’s a best use for each.

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Which Industrial Wireless is Best for Me?

The answer to the Which Wireless is Best for Me? webinar question is, “it depends”.

With a decade of license-free industrial wireless experience under our belts, I’m confident that there’s a best wireless solution for everyone.  But which technology and network depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.  Some people just need a couple I/O points, others a plant-wide network to handle I/O and WiFi.

If you missed the webinar and want to see and hear the considerations for industrial wireless, go here: http://www.lesman.com/train/webinars/Webinar_Which-Wireless.htm

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