“Proprietary” wireless works too.
A number of manufacturers make field sensor networks that use protocols other than WirelessHART or ISA100.11a and in fact have been on the market for a number of years and in a wide range of form factors. One such series of devices are the newly released OMEGA® zSeries wireless sensor/transmitter systems manufactured in Santa Ana, California, U.S.A. that provide Web-based monitoring of Temperature, Humidity, and Barometric Pressure, as well as thermocouples and any transducer with analog voltage or current output.
Typical of these devices and in fact the case for most field level networks which do not yet have an end-to-end single protocol option commercially available, the coordinator/meter-controller connects directly to an Ethernet network and the Internet serving active web pages to display and chart the data. You can monitor and record the measurements over an Ethernet network or the Internet without any special software--just your Web Browser.
Like almost all the wireless devices on the market these devices also use the License Free ISM band so the basics regarding installation are similar, though mesh networks and star networks do have come differences that will be covered in future writings.
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Ian Verhappen is a contributor and blogger for Control and Control Design. He has 25+ years experience in instrumentation, controls and automation. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his Google+ profile.