At the most recent ODVA conference, where industrial
network topics are the order of the day (ODVA is the organization that supports network technologies built on the Common
Industrial Protocol, such as DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP, CompoNet and
ControlNet), one of the hot topics being discussed was wireless. One session in
particular, presented by Paul Brooks of Rockwell Automation and Paul Didier of
Cisco, focused on the current real world utility of wireless and the benefits
of moving to 802.11n in an industrial environment.
Though wireless network use is still very much in its
infancy for industrial use, Brooks and Didier are confident that WiFi will
follow Ethernet into greater use in automation and control systems. However, they
expect that wide use of WiFi in the industrial arena is still several years off
largely due to the level of existing investments in wired networks coupled with
the fact that wireless technology capabilities tend to lag a bit behind wired.
In addition, Brooks noted that, from performance, energy and
flexibility aspects, WiFi is not as capable as specific industrial wireless
protocols such as WirelessHART or ISA 100. To illustrate his point, Brooks pointed out that, in control and safety applications, latency and
fidelity remain the biggest challenge for wireless devices. Therefore,
synchronization and motion applications tend to operate better when connected via wired
But with an array of business drivers pushing greater use of
wireless into the industrial area, such as the elimination of wires,
portability/mobility of devices, asset tracking, remote monitoring and video
surveillance, large market opportunities exist in industry for wireless devices.
Therefore, device designers should concentrate on applications involving moving
operators, moving machinery and applications where running wires is difficult
and costly, suggested Didier.
"The key for wireless device designers is to ensure that the
user experience is the same with a wireless device as it is with wired device,"
A large portion of their presentation focused on the
benefits of updating to the 802.11n standard. Advantages for device designers inherent
in the 802.11n include:
MIMO (multiple inputs, multiple outputs), which ensures
signals are received in-phase and increases receiver sensitivity;
Maximum Ratio Combining - multiple signals are
sent and combined at the receiver,
thereby increasing fidelity;
Packet aggregation - multiple packets are
combined into one data packet, providing a big boost for network data management
in time-critical industrial automation applications;and
Backward compatibility with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz as
well as the 802.11 a, b and g standards. Didier added that, for optimal
results, time-critical applications should run on 5 GHz with all else on 2.4 GHz
to increase fidelity.
What makes this movie stand out from the typical high school sports story is that the teenagers are undocumented immigrants, and the big game is a NASA-sponsored marine robotics competition. Like many other Hollywood movies, however, Spare Parts only tells part of the story. What the film shows -- and doesn’t show -- raises important issues affecting STEM education in the US.
Instead of sifting through huge amounts of technical data looking for answers to assembly problems, engineers can now benefit from 3M's new initiative -- 3M Assembly Solutions. The company has organized its wealth of adhesive and tape solutions into six typical application areas, making it easier to find the best products to solve their real-world assembly and bonding problems.
Load dump occurs when a discharged battery is disconnected while the alternator is generating current and other loads remain on the alternator circuit. If left alone, the electrical spikes and transients will be transmitted along the power line, leading to malfunctions in individual electronics/sensors or permanent damage to the vehicle’s electronic system. Bottom line: An uncontrolled load dump threatens the overall safety and reliability of the vehicle.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.