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Wireless Technology as a Work in Progress

www.cechina.cn2009.11.13阅读 26732

        What’s holding back broader adoption of wireless technologies in the process industries? A panel of vendor and user experts discussed that and other topics at October’s ISA Expo in Houston. It seems that although technical and attitudinal obstacles to this emerging technology remain, many are being systematically addressed and overcome. Panel members included Peter Fuhrwww.cechina.cn, Wi-Fi Sensors Inc.; Patrick Schweitzer, Exxon Mobil and ISA 100 committee co-chair; Jose Gutierrez, Emerson; Herman Storey, recently retired from Shell Global Solutions; Dave Kaufman, Honeywell; and Ed Ladd, HART Communication Foundation.
        One obstacle suggested by panelists was a sense of risk related to communication failures (“Can you hear me now?”). Some users aren’t convinced that the signal will get through when it has to. Another thought was that the discussion has largely moved from technical and reliability issues to disagreements over system ownership, meaning that, from the perspective of plant managers, IT groups tend to latch onto wireless more than other plant level technologies, and then want to exercise Control or at least have influence over deployments. IT people know what wireless is控制工程网版权所有, as opposed to something like a fieldbusCONTROL ENGINEERING China版权所有, and they’re concerned that unmanaged experiments in the plant could interfere with their systems.
        While security is still an important concern控制工程网版权所有, the consensus among current and potential users was that technical solutions are possible and are already being implemented. While wireless Ethernet (Wi-Fi) may present an attack surface that hackers understand, instrumentation-level communication would be difficult to penetratewww.cechina.cn, although users should not rule out that possibility. There were questions about use of wireless technology with safety systems and specific safety devices, such as gas detectors. The panel recoiled some
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