Break the Cord

May 4, 2010
That used to be a phrase for growing—breaking the cord.

That stood for breaking the umbilical cord when you were born so that you could start your journey to becoming an independent human being. Many workers feel similarly about being tied down to their computers that are hard-wired to the desk. They look with envy at their Web worker cohorts who move from desk to coffee house to the park and still connect to the Internet.

If sensors could think and feel—well, like a human thinks and feels, anyway—they would have similar emotions. Always tied down with a wire leading back to a control cabinet somewhere. Can’t be placed just wherever it would make sense.

We call this magazine the Industrial Ethernet Review, but that doesn’t mean we limit ourselves to Layers 1 and 2 of the traditional network stack. We’re dealing with the latest in networking for industrial purposes. In this case, networking without wires is rapidly becoming mainstream. Mobile and connected workers is not a description limited to your UPS or FedEx driver. The operator and maintenance technician may be just as mobile and connected now as the delivery people.

Wireless sensor network technology no longer generates the heated discussions of 2007 and 2008. That may be because of industry consolidation. It may also be because products supporting the WirelessHart technology are beginning to appear frequently.  I think the next technology to watch out for is the Internet Protocol (IP) part of Ethernet TCP/IP over wireless in sensors and other industrial devices. That will be another interesting development.

To take a deeper dive into the topic, check out the on-demand Webcast, “Ethernet Protocols and Green Engineering” at

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