Automation and mobility are two key aspects of enterprise WiFi. Without these two, an enterprise can never be one step ahead in the race.
I’ve acknowledged the role played by WiFi enterprise mobility. And here I will discuss how WiFi is bringing automation close to mobility. I am not a jargonist, so you’ll understand every single bit of it as you read.
The total workable hours don’t include the time an entrepreneur and his employees take to reach office from home and vice versa. Now let’s do some simple math and find out how many of the total work hours are getting wasted this way.
Let’s suppose it’s a small business with twenty employees. On their way to the office, they send or forward each others’ emails, so they don’t have to check those emails after reaching the office. If sending emails and replying to the receivers takes 15 minutes, the employees are doing (15 x 20) x 20 = 6,000 minutes of work outside the office.
If you put automation in the background, then the above scenario seems realistic. Connected vehicles trigger this automation. WiFi equipped cars are already a reality; in the future, public and mass transit will depend on wireless connectivity too, allowing for better mobility for small businesses.
You’ve heard of WLAN and WAN, but what’s WPAN?
WPAN stands for Wide Personal Area Networks. There are technologies grouped under WPAN that account for data transmission between devices with ultra-low battery capacity. The Wibree specification falls under WPAN.
Being an extension of Bluetooth, the Wibree specification covers an area of 15-50 feet. It operates in the 2.4GHz band, and the data consumption rate stays really low. A small business with a simultaneous dual band router can make use of it and connect low-powered devices.
These connected devices are on their way to take over the tech industry. Many of them are low-powered devices, which means small businesses can use them for communication and protocols and the Wibree specification can lend them a hand. The usability of such devices, especially in a workplace, has so far stayed off the grid, unless someone like me sheds light on them.
Wireless Process Automation
What I am going to discuss here will resonate with what you’ve read in the paragraph above because industrial plants such as manufacturing and refinery facilities have all of the said reasons to opt for wireless networking, and even more.
Such facilities operate with field devices (FD). The FDs are electrical and semiconductor equipment such as filament lamps, transistors, light emitting diodes, etc. The power sources to run the devices interminably are batteries, fuel cells, electrical generators, photovoltaic devices, etc.
At times, short-range wireless networking can suffice for FDs to connect to each other. The conventional connection structure was reliant on I/O modules. Between the FDs and I/O modules were marshalling rack, junction box, and explosion protection equipment. But the wireless structures eliminates the need for redundant electrical equipment. It only requires FDs and an access point.
Hence, thanks to wireless technologies, industrial facilities not only enjoy automation but ease of use and scalability too.
There are challenges alongside opportunities. While some challenges are difficult to overcome, others can be hardly identified as challenges, and rather as shortcomings. Industrial premises have several applications with varying latency and installation specs. Latency refers to the wasted time. In networking, latency stands for undesirable delays.
New wireless technologies aim to reduce latency, but it’s always more than what’s on paper. Coexistence is another challenge. Technically, coexistence stands for different systems sharing the same air space. But if those systems don’t use the same regulations, coexistence would be difficult.
A crucial impediment to wireless automation is outdated industry regulations. Industry standards need to update, or else, wireless automation and wireless communication as a whole would become incredibly difficult.
Patience is the Key
You can’t adopt the latest enterprise WiFi standards overnight. The adoption is a continuous process, and it will take time. So be patient. More and more innovations are on the way; wait for them to arrive, and see your business making use of them and getting benefits.
WiFi Photo via Shutterstock