Wireless adoption to-do list

Jan. 5, 2017
Each process application has its own unique characteristics and needs, but there remain some basic, common steps for getting wireless up and running in any facility or setting.
  • Examine and add up each process application’s essential functional requirements, and let them be a guide to identify the most appropriate wireless technology and components;
  • Compare present hardwired networks and any existing wireless ones, and update the organization’s comprehensive communications strategy, including new processes, parameters and signals that might benefit from wireless monitoring;
  • Merge wired and wireless strategy and current networks with operational requirements defined in first step to assist in selecting new wireless equipment;
  • Perform a radio frequency (RF) evaluation and a complete wireless site survey on the process and facility environment, and identify potential interference sources, including metal barriers, masonry structures, longer-than-expected distances, hilly or wooded terrain and other obstacles;
  • Try out and pick best-performing antennas, and determine optimal locations for most reliable coverage for wireless signals;
  • Start by installing wireless in a non-essential, trial-run application to evaluate and identify any unusual site aspect or problems;
  • Be certain wireless components can be tweaked and relocated if and when needs of the application or facility are altered, expanded or decreased;
  • Deploy wireless devices and supporting network equipment to fulfill the process and facility’s current needs, and provide for larger information requirements and added infrastructure in the future; and
  • Teach facility personnel how to implement and maintain wireless devices and networking for greatest production benefits, and retrain as needed.

For the rest of the story, read our December 2016 feature, "Wireless hits the open road."

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