A recent Automation World article pointed out what we’ve been seeing internally and with our customers for a while: The world is going wireless. In everyday life we’ve experienced it with laptops, netbooks, iPads and smartphones. Wireless technology is expanding into many more areas of our lives, both personal and professional. Use of 802.11 in embedded devices and machines is on the rise.
Wireless connectivity can help you control your home entertainment system from your iPhone while eating dinner across town. It can help your doctor monitor the infusion pump used following a recent surgery. The concept of the ‘Internet of Things’ is becoming more prevalent, as everyday items are now ‘alive’ with the ability to communicate data across wireless networks.
The Automation World article points out that wireless communications are now being used extensively in the industrial sector, thanks to lower prices and huge technical advancements. Specially, the 802.11n standard, which brings many benefits including dual band operation (2.4GHz & 5GHz) and higher throughput. This speed improvement is aided by MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) which allows multiple, bidirectional, simultaneous streams of wireless data. (Say that 10 times fast!)
Dual-band implementations of 802.11n allow the implementer to segment traffic between the 2 frequency bands. This helps improves operations where the 2.4GHz band is saturated (like the local Starbucks)!
Of course, a wireless world doesn’t happen over night and caution must be taken to ensure implementations are well thought out. However, with proper research and recent tech advances, we’re seeing wireless adoption accelerating rapidly.