Water District Completes Next Stage of Wireless Network Development

Jan. 22, 2013
Parker Water and Sanitation District, consisting of 43 square miles and 17,000 single family homes, unifies its wireless network's hardware and improves diagnostics.

Water municipalities are no strangers to wireless data networks. The industry has been using wireless radios for more than fifteen years, but with advances in wireless radio technology, such as wireless I/O radios, muncipalities have begun to move to the second generation of wireless radio technology. Colorado-based Parker Water and Sanitation District (www.pwsd.org) is at this next stage of development for its wireless network and recently chose FreeWave Technologies (www.freewave.com) to implement its portfolio of wireless radios, including the company's HTPlus, FGR Serial radios and FGR2-IO radios. 

One of the objectives with this hardware update was to find a radio provider that could help achieve reliable wireless data communication and real-time data transmission. Parker Water and Sanitation District previous communication system produced a 10-minute delay in data transmission and the radios it used were incompatible with each other. With the help of Process Control Dynamics, Inc. (www.pcdsales.com)—Freewave's technology partner and integrator—and the opportunity to do a path study, Parker Water and Sanitation District determined that FreeWave was the vendor to standardize its communication network. The radios are used for monitoring critical data at its water and wastewater facilities, including tank levels, temperatures, pressures, and pump control.

“FreeWave’s radios were easily integrated into our existing Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) network and can communicate with all of our Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs),” says Kirk Magnusson, systems administration manager, Parker Water and Sanitation District. The result is one cohesive system that sends critical data in real-time. With the configuration and diagnostics tools that FreeWave offers, we also can manage the radios from our desktop. With our old system, if a radio had a communication issue, someone from the team would have to drive out and locally fix it.” 

The FGR Serial radios provide 115 Kbps of speed and the HTPlus is a high-speed Ethernet radio that delivers data at a rate of up to 867 Kbps and is designed for SCADA backhaul networks. The third radio for this application is the FGR2-IO, a 900 MHz input/output (I/O) radio providing communication of process-control signals to remote terminal units (RTU) and programmable logic controllers (PLC). The water district also employs FreeWave’s network configuration and diagnostic software, Tool Suite.

“Our low power consumption technology that provides extremely long range communication is a great fit for such remote automation applications,” says Ashish Sharma, chief marketing officer, FreeWave Technologies.

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