Cliffs Notes: Industrial Wireless Network Frequencies

September 8, 2016 at 8:00 AM

 

Today’s industrial wireless networks use multiple frequencies in order to support a variety of applications. In a single industrial setting there may be two, three or more frequencies being used since each offers unique capabilities.

 

If you’re trying to decide which frequency would be best for your industrial wireless application, we’re here to help. We’re going old school with a CliffsNotes-style review to sum it all up for you.

 

Summary

 

There are three ISM wireless frequency bands: 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The most popular frequencies used in industrial networks are the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands. Many industrial facilities have such diversified needs and processes that their wireless network uses multiple frequencies. For example, let’s say there’s an oil refinery using a remote monitoring system, a security system and high speed Wi-Fi in the central control office – this situation may require the use of all three frequency bands.

 

Facilities such as oil refineries, wastewater treatment plants and manufacturing operations may have wireless systems that utilize lower bandwidth communications. Simpler tasks like opening a valve or relaying temperature readings from a tank require less bandwidth. In this instance, the 900 MHz frequency band is often used because it allows for longer distance, more reliable transmissions and better penetration of obstructions. This frequency is ideal when remote monitoring of facilities requires a longer reach.

 

These facilities may also use video security systems which are very common in industrial installations. Most security systems use IP cameras which can be wired with cables or may be connected via wireless links. Wireless IP camera networks require higher bandwidth to send video and/or audio. In this case, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks are the best bet. Using an 802.11g/n network provides security systems the speed they need with transmission rates of up to 300 Mbps.

 

5 GHz is not as commonly used as the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequencies in industrial networks. It has the shortest range but offers very high bandwidth which can be overkill for many industrial communication applications.  Often 5 GHz systems are used as a backhaul link to connect two 2.4 GHz systems.

 

Study Guide

 

Here is a handy chart to give you an overview of the ISM band frequencies and how they are used in industrial wireless networks:

 

No matter which frequency best suits your needs, L-com has all of the products to build your industrial wireless network including antennas, amplifiers, splitters/filters and access points

 

For more information on industrial wireless networks, check out our blog post 5 Things You Need To Know About Industrial Wireless.

 

Comments on this post? Other topics you’d like us to cover? Email us at engineeringhub@l-com.com

 

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