Helpful Tools

Feb. 3, 2014
As a sidebar to our January cover story on wireless solutions, this article offers a few resources to learn more about setting up and troubleshooting your wireless network.

Note: This is a sidebar to our January cover story. Read the full article: "Industrial Wireless: Broken Signal Solutions."

Tim Pitterling, product manager, industrial Ethernet infrastructure, for automation vendor Siemens Industry, notes that Siemens offers a free, downloadable tool “that can help remove a lot of RF engineering guesswork by simulating the coverage of different access points and their respective antennas.”

This is a comprehensive guide, and users would be well served to check other vendors’ websites for additional helpful information.

Automation World also has resources in the form of whitepapers and on-demand webinars available online. For example, a new whitepaper from Advantech titled “Wi-Fi – The New Key to Industrial Control and Safety” explains packet aggregation, channel bonding and other aspects of Wi-Fi communications. In an on-demand webinar, Mahesh Patel, director of product management for Red Lion’s wireless products and solutions, speaks about “Smart Remote Connected Sites: Using Cellular Automation to Monitor and Control Assets.” Find these and other resources online at www.automationworld.com/whitepapers or www.automationworld.com/webinars

Mark Lochhaas, product manager for Advantech, offers this why-didn’t-I-think-of-that bit of information: “The industrial wireless user can find lots of assistance from the company IT department, since 802.11 is the dominant wireless standard in the enterprise office space as well. It is extremely useful when running into problems of bandwidth and interference to have people who are experienced with wireless networking already available.”

Lochhaas adds, “There are many books and articles available on the 802.11 standard and the technologies behind it. But the point of Wi-Fi is that users, even users in the industrial environment, don’t need to know the technology, just the applications and use cases.”

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