Last month, in Part 1 of this topic, we discussed how applying industrial Ethernet can truly transform your facility and provide unanticipated benefits.
Wireless technologies are thriving on the plant floor for a number of reasons, but two key criteria include improved safety and security and lower costs. Security concerns initially associated with wireless have been dispelled or at least diminished. Standards development for wireless systems has caught up with conventional Ethernet with the development and expansion of IEEE 802.11. The standard governs wireless LAN communications and has helped advance the security of Ethernet wireless systems, some say even beyond that of hard-wired systems. New products such as the BAT300-Rail series with three transmission/reception antennas are now better able to receive signals being sent over the industrial network.
Another significant benefit of wireless applications is their lower cost. In many cases, a wireless system is more economical because it eliminates the hard wired costs of cabling and connections and the associated installation effort. In addition, wireless adds convenience to maintenance tasks. For example, if a technician can perform repairs, update firmware, or even do minor programming without opening the cabinet door to access a controller, tasks can be completed quickly, easily, and with less risk.
Today, both wired and wireless products are available for industrial Ethernet applications. For more information, download our Achieving Next Generation Connectivity with Wired and Wireless white paper.