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“We have also bought an Emerson AMS asset management system,” Pietersz adds. “Currently we only manage the wireless sensors with it, but we will be putting other instrumentation into the system in the near future.
In short, the wireless era has begun well for us.”
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Self-Organizing Mesh Networks vs. Point-To-Point
Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless field networks use self-organizing mesh technology that is tried and tested and the basis for the recently approved WirelessHART standard. Each wireless device in a self-organizing network can act as a router for other nearby devices, passing messages along until they reach their destination.
This capability provides redundant communication paths and better reliability than solutions that require direct, line-of-sight communication between each device and its gateway. Whenever there’s a change in the network or in conditions that affect communications, the devices and gateways in a self-organizing network work together to find and use the most efficient path for each message a path that optimizes data reliability while minimizing power consumption.
Self-organizing network technology also reduces the effort and infrastructure needed to set up a successful wireless network. One of the difficulties of setting up the traditional point-to-point wireless network is the requirement to do a site survey to be certain that every node in the system has a line-of-sight path. This survey work is expensive. Plus, the resultant point-to-point network may require as many as five times the number of infrastructure nodes as a self-organizing network.
Another advantage of self-organizing networks is that they are dynamic. As new obstacles are encountered in a plant, such as scaffolding, new equipment or moving vehicles, the networks can reorganize around them. All of this happens automatically, without any intervention by the user.
Emerson’s Smart Wireless and now all WirelessHART self-organizing networks use IEEE 802.15.4 radios with channel-hopping as the physical layer. They are designed and tested to be tolerant to almost all interference and can co-exist with other wireless networks in your plant. The networks are also highly scalable and capable of one-second scanning with low latency. Emerson’s wireless devices based on this technology have been proven in use to demonstrate greater than 99% data reliability.
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