Wireless Networks for Industrial Automation, Fourth Edition provides a clear view of the emerging wireless communications market and closely examines advances in wireless technologies for process control such as ISA100 Wireless (ANSI/ISA-100.11a), WirelessHART, WIA-PA and WiFi, including IEEE 802.11n and 802.11ac.

Written by Dick Caro, ISA Life Fellow and industrial automation consultant at CMC Associates, the fourth edition of the popular book on wireless networks for industrial automation published by International Society of Automation, Research Triangle Park, N.C., was updated with an extensive analysis of the newest wireless technologies

“A lot has changed in the marketplace since the third edition of my book was published,” notes Caro, an expert in industrial networking and current chair of two ISA100 Wireless standards subcommittees. “At that time, ISA100 Wireless was just being developed and WirelessHART had just been announced. This new edition covers their transition to well-established, proven standards, and provides guidance to those seeking a comparison of the two."

Because both ISA100 Wireless and WirelessHART have well-documented field experience and installation success, Caro says that both “are absolutely reliable, secure and simple to install. And, since their batteries seem to last forever, fears of battery replacement have disappeared,” he asserts. “At the same time, they both have differences.”

ISA100 Wireless, he explains, is particularly useful for “process control users who can visualize a control system architecture that includes plant-wide wireless control networks. WirelessHART has been important to some users who have urgent needs for measurements or status detection in areas that have been too costly or unable to connect wired instruments or sensors.”

Caro also looks at alternate wireless technologies, including WIA-PA and IEEE 802.11.

“Wireless offers installed cost advantages,” Caro points out. “When the third edition of my book was released, IEEE 802.11n had not yet been ratified, but vendors were already selling product. Now, IEEE 802.11n is the Wi-Fi market leader with many installations of the MIMO [multiple-input multiple-output] form with dual frequencies to provide spatial diversity.

“Today, IEEE 802.11ac is nearing ratification and suppliers are already selling product,” he continues. “As improvements to IEEE 802.11 are made, the speed increases to the point that IEEE 802.11ac will achieve speed parity with wired gigabit Ethernet.”

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