Emerging Technologies for Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks

Emerging Technologies for Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks

Ivanovitch Silva (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil), Luiz Affonso Guedes (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil) and Paulo Portugal (University of Porto, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3922-5.ch017
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The evolution of industrial networks can be summarized as a constant battle to define the universal technology that integrates field devices and applications. Since the Fieldbus wars in the 1980s, diverse wired solutions have been proposed. However, this scenario has been changing due to the introduction of industrial wireless sensor networks. In the last 10 years, the development of deterministic scheduling techniques, redundant routing algorithms, and energy saving issues has brought wireless sensor networks into the industrial domain. This new communication paradigm is governed by a de facto standard, the IEEE 802.15.4, and more recently also by the IEEE 802.15.5. However, there are signs of a new battle on the horizon with the new publicly available specifications of WirelessHART, ISA100.11a, and IEC 62601. In this chapter, to the authors analyze the advantages and drawbacks of these emerging technologies for industrial wireless sensor networks.
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Wireless Communications In Industrial Environments

The emergence of technologies for industrial wireless networks was a natural evolution of the legacy industrial communication technologies. The proposal to eliminate field wiring and use a new paradigm for data transmission in industrial environments is not recent. Lessard et al.(1988) developed one of the first works in this area in an attempt communicating industrial devices for infrared. According to colpo and mols (2011), the use of wireless equipment can reduce installation costs by 50–90% compared to scenarios where wired devices are used. Despite eliminating costs, industrial wireless networks still face many challenges. Some open issues are related to addressing, routing, managing devices with limited physical capabilities (energy, processing, memory, etc.), security and privacy, dealing with heterogeneous technologies, safety, and standardization. Other relevant issues to be analyzed are dependability requirements (reliability and availability), as faults may lead to system failures, which can result in financial losses, environmental damage, or putting people in danger.

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