The wirelessization of industrial communications is also a hotly debated issue in automation. Industrial control companies are increasingly recognising that wireless technology will be the basis for the next technological take-off, which will significantly improve plant performance and ensure user safety.
As wireless technology becomes increasingly popular, suppliers are offering a range of hardware and software technologies to assist in adding communication capabilities to their products. These technologies support communication standards such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, 5G and WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access). However, when adding wireless connectivity, the choice of chip and associated software (assuming that the chosen implementation works and meets the relevant demonstration requirements) can be extremely challenging. Even if a viable design is made, it may not achieve market success if it is not optimised for performance, power, cost and scale. What is hottest today is not necessarily the best communication standard and what customers need, so the hardware and software implementation chosen should be such that each new generation of products does not need to be completely adapted from scratch.
The trend towards wireless technology entering the industrial sector is undeniable, especially in situations where wired is not available, and where wireless offers advantages. But this requires perfection in the performance of wireless technology itself, with reliability, communication certainty and real-time, compatibility and other properties to be strengthened. Therefore, shortly soon, industrial wireless technology will remain an extension of traditional wired technology, and most instruments, as well as automation products, will be embedded with wireless transmission functions. International research on wireless technology is still in its infancy, and relevant standards are being developed, in which our research institutions are also involved, which to a certain extent promotes the development of wireless technology in China’s process industries.
As wireless technology is still in the stage of development and continuous improvement, the functions are after all limited. And in the field of automation technology, there is no recognised and proven standard for the more reliable application of wireless technology in real-time control, which is particularly evident in the case of very short working cycle times. Therefore, the scope of application of wireless technology is currently limited to data acquisition and monitoring (SCADA).
However, as reliability increases, wireless technology will have a wider range of applications. Wireless communication will grow rapidly over the next few years, but wireless will not replace wired communication. The stability, reliability and security of wired will not disappear. Wireless will only replace wired solutions where wired is not convenient or costly to implement. If wireless and wired are combined organically, with each side playing to its strengths, it will provide new solutions for productivity growth. Wired communication is used where wired communication is appropriate and wireless communication is used where wireless communication is appropriate. As both wired and wireless communication support the TCP/IP protocol, the two communication methods can be organically combined to take advantage of each other’s strengths and can increase productivity.
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