Integrating an Industrial Wireless Sensor Network with Your Plant's Switched Ethernet and IP Network

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This paper discusses the main areas that require specific engineering attention as wireless sensors are added to the network infrastructure in a factory or a campus.

Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are gaining market acceptance in numerous industrial segments because they are both cheaper and faster to deploy than traditional wired field-buses. WSNs can also offer incremental value from a variety of additional usages by leveraging the entire network to connect the sensors to a centralized controlling application for supervisory control or logging. However, a number of issues are raised when integrating a proprietary network operated by process control with tight response time and availability constraints, into a wider, more complex IT network that already supports a large number of applications with wireless, switched, and IP technologies.

This white paper will discuss:

  • Coexistence between the WSN and the enterprise Wi-Fi network over the common public band of 2.4 GHz
  • Security measures to protect the wireless media
  • Network high availability to ensure that critical sensor data are transported safely when a switched radio and wired network replaces a point-to-point field bus
  • Guaranteed bandwidth and quality of service (QoS) for both the existing traffic and the new sensor traffic to protect the real-time sensor data
  • Flow isolation to prevent cross influence between the various flows (voice, sensor data, entries data, visitors)
  • Next-generation readiness with IPv6

For each of these areas, we discuss the situation in detail and propose a number of practical solutions that have been studied or deployed in different yet similar situations.