The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reported May 29 that it's published its first, 62-page set of science-based guidelines to help users select the best wireless system for industrial environments, design the network, deploy it, and ensure it performs as needed.
NIST's wireless project began in March 2017, when it and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers organized a group of experts on wireless from government, industry and academia to develop “a succinct yet comprehensive, easy-to-use reference guide and best practices manual for anyone, from control engineers to factory managers, to integrate a robust, safe, reliable and secure wireless system into their unique industrial landscape,” explained Rick Candell, an electronics engineer in NIST’s engineering laboratory.
Candell reports the new guidelines walk users through every step needed to achieve the best wireless fit for his or her specific operation. The guidelines provides valuable background, strategies and tools that help users:
- Understand wireless technologies and networking basics, including a glossary of terms, a review of radio frequency (RF) considerations and a list of technical challenges (such as latency, the time it takes for data to go from source to target);
- Make a business case for wireless;
- Break down the components of a complete wireless lifecycle, from the first defining of objectives to deployment and monitoring of the final system;
- Use wireless to enhance factory safety;
- Protect and secure a wireless network;
- Learn about best wireless practices such as optimal antenna placement, avoiding obstructions and interference problems, and preventing redundant signal paths; and
- Follow a set of easy-to-use checklists for each element of the wireless deployment lifecycle, including evaluating the factory and its operations for communications needs, comparing available technologies, and methodically designing and deploying a working wireless system.