Harsh Chitale from Honeywell on Wireless

Harsh Chitale, new vice president of strategy and marketing for Honeywell Process Systems, is presenting "Top Considerations for Selecting Your Industrial Wireless Solution." "Whenever there is a bunch of buzz about something, there is always the risk of rushing into something without doing the planning necessary. Some of the lessons we've learned have been the hard way." Think of the Future: Imagine the possibilities Planning for wireless is no different than planning a freeway system for a city. Efficiency, reliability, and safety are the big applications to improve. Any wireless system addresses improving these use cases. "We heard a lot about coexistence. It is NOT coexistence of standards. It is the ability of different applications to run concurrently in a small bandwidth space, in a narrow spectrum," Chitale said. "Coexistence has to be thought through early if you want to avoid bandwidth choke points later on." Implementation of new wireless tools for personnel and plant asset safety is essentially a no brainer. Chitale pointed out some of the new applications made possible by wireless. "A chemical plant realized a 6 month ROI from their mobile field maintenance tools," he said. "Wireless corrosion monitoring is also becoming possible," Chitale reported. "An ethanol plant prevented several costly spills," Chitale said, "and saved over $750,000." Once you have decided what the applications are that you want to run on your wireless network, you must then talk about reliability and availability of the network you want to use. Do you have existing wireless in your plant; what frequencies are being used? Can the new system co-exist with existing wireless in your plant? How close are you to potential interferences and communities? So:
  • choose a network that supports co-existence and conserves limited spectrum
  • partner with a professional who can assess your site and design a reliable sywstem specific to your site
Can the new system handle multiple hardware failures with no degradation in performance?  What are your uptime and availability requirments? What is the level of security you need to plan for? Is your facility close to townships or communities? Do you want to manage just one wireless security system or many? Can you design and implement the security yourself? You should have end-to-end security. You need confidentiality, replay protection, and source authentication, and resistance to denial-of-service attacks. You want to have only one security system... Your system must be scalable. You must be able to manage priorities of communication in a choked and narrow spectrum. If you want a network that is scalable, you need to plan for it now. What applications will be used now and in the future? How many devices will you need? Will that be enough for the lifetime of your plant? Consider the plant lifetime in your design process-- anticipate technology innovation enabling more devices in unexpected areas. Waht happens when you go beyong the limit of your network capacity? Can the networ start small and grow? Will more devices degrade the network performance? Research and select a system that meets your current expectations but can scale to meet unanticipated needs. Expect to double your needs, at a minimum. Avoid a rip-and-replace strategy to protect inestment in training, security and infrastructure. The network you select must be usable and simple, with transparent power management. Is your workfore familiar with wireless? Can you afford to hire new employees to install, maintain, and expand your network? Ensure your network can integrate with your wired networks, with a simple and secure structure. Minimize software suites. Consider all plant needs to standardize on hardware and software. Evaluate a convenient security and authentication key management without sacrificing security. Choose a provider that can help train, install, support, and maintain your solution.. (cue the LOTR music) One network to rule them all... How long do you want your devices to be self powered? (do you want any of your devices to be self powered???) Will your reporting rate needs be sustainable with self contained power or will the device require an add-on power source. Look for a system with deterministic power consumption to ensure predictable maintanenace. Look for power management that fits both your alerting requirements and your battery replacement goals. Consider your reporting rate requirements. Which applications will you use over the wireless network in the future? Keep it simple. A single networks reduces risk and support costs. What communication protocols will those apps require/ Wil you need those protocols running simulataneously? Can you afford to have your alarms and alerts transmitted back at the same rate as mointoring information? Research existing and pending regulations for alerting requirements. Choose a solution provider that understands industrial requirements for integrating to control systems. ...it's about choosing the right network! Will you need one global solution? Will you want to use multiple vendor devices on the same wireless network? What level of flexibility do you need? Is it an open system that allows connection to any plant systems and inherently transports existing protocols? "Honeywell is looking forward to this one standard that enables one network for today and tomorrow," Chitale said. Choose one infrastructure that supports multiple radios and frequencies, with no barriers to future needs. Audience member: "You have two batteries per sensor--what happens when you have 10,000 sensors? What's the environmental impact of that?" Chitale: "Let me get back to you on that." Audience member: "Can you really do control with wireless?" Chitale: "Yes, but it is a new technology and it will take time for people to get comfortable with it."