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Based upon the licence-free IEEE802.15, 2.4GHz frequency band wireless systems such as Zigbee are full-blown telemetry systems in their own right, providing wireless personal area networking (WPAN).

This includes digital radio connections between computers and related devices, such as sensors, which can be implemented across large and remote sites to determine accurate service usage figures, apportion energy costs across respective cost centres, and improve the accountability of managers to monitor and maintain the services aspects of their assets.

This type of network eliminates the use of physical data buses such as USB and Ethernet cables.

It also offers key features, including: acknowledgement that data has been received at its destination; retransmission in the event of failure due to radio collisions or reflections – in a similar manner to TCP/IP networks; validation of message content using data sequence numbering (Frame Check Sequence); network redundancy – such that failure of a node on the network will enable messages to be re- routed via other nodes; and network protocol security encryption.

The power and flexibility of the network is demonstrated by its ability to support more than 64,000 devices in star, tree or mesh formations, which form high-reliability, self-healing, self-joining networks, with the benefit of network protocol security encryption.

The devices themselves are low-powered (via battery) intelligent nodes with onboard metering and logging capabilities.

They can be positioned anywhere in or on plant – making system expansion a simple task – gathering data such as energy readings, temperature/flow levels pressures and fault diagnostics.

As the system provides two-way communications, the nodes are able to relay each other’s traffic, bypassing wired networks completely (a problem with other Wi-Fi networks).

Moreover, individual nodes offer the flexibility to be interrogated remotely, to determine and change parameters such as temperature, flow, pressure and power.

All of the data gathered from the plantwide networks is sent via Ethernet wireless gateways to be logged in a hosted server.

The central web-based server monitors multiple wireless networks with real-time viewer and data-logging facility.

It enables central analysis of the energy used in all areas of distributed facilities, allowing efficiency comparisons and power savings to be calculated.

Intelligent Distributed Controls

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