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New industrial wireless technology ensuring reliable video transmissions

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article image Security priorities have increased the demand for higher resolution IP cameras

Advances in wireless technologies made over the past ten years have helped convert many industrial networks from wired to wireless. The clear benefits of wireless over wired networks including the absence of cabling, low cost and simplicity of implementation are the key drivers of this transition.

Many industrial networks are now being designed to support video data transmissions, with most of the data generated by IP surveillance systems. Security priorities have increased the demand for higher resolution IP cameras. However, IP surveillance systems also create greater bandwidth demands on the industrial network infrastructure. To support seamless video streaming over a wireless network, operators must understand the bandwidth requirement of each camera, and then calculate the total network bandwidth required for simultaneous data transmissions.

Knowing how to calculate both video data and wireless network bandwidth is an essential first step in planning a video-over-wireless network. While the choice of wireless devices is driven primarily by the amount of network bandwidth required, it is also important to ensure that the devices will work smoothly under different application scenarios.

Video-over-Wireless Application Scenarios

New wireless technologies such as 802.11ac and LTE are still not mature enough for use with industrial applications in terms of interoperability and coverage. Currently, the key technologies available for enabling video-over-wireless are 802.11n and 3G. Based on Moxa’s experience helping end-users implement real-world applications, industrial video-over-wireless communication can be categorised into one of the following three scenarios:

Scenario 1: Remote IP Surveillance

Intersection monitoring, factory surveillance and harbour surveillance are good examples of applications that will inevitably require removing existing nodes or adding new nodes. If it involves a wired network connection, new cables will have to be laid to add new nodes. Wireless communication networks can easily add the new nodes without installing additional data line cabling. Two key factors that must be considered when doing this are wireless coverage and real-time communication.

Depending on the degree of wireless coverage required, Moxa provides a complete range of wireless solutions supporting different transmission distances. For a local wireless network, which usually means within a 300m transmission radius, 802.11 radios are a good choice due to their higher gain omnidirectional antennas. For longer communication distances, cellular technology can provide a more stable solution.

Wireless options require a network design that provides sufficient bandwidth to ensure the connection will support real-time video transmissions. Moxa provides a Video Bandwidth Calculator that allows users to determine how much bandwidth is required for each camera, and a WLAN Range Calculator that provides an initial estimate of data rates, ranges, and the antenna gain settings that AWK series products can support.

When operating mission-critical and safety-critical systems in hard-to-wire environments, packet loss during wireless transmissions can compromise safety and reliability. To address this problem, Moxa offers dual radio wireless solutions featuring the proprietary Concurrent Dual-Radio Technology, which achieves zero packet loss for industrial applications. For cellular connections, Moxa’s GuaranLink feature ensures reliable and consistent cellular connectivity, which translates into zero data loss and on-demand cellular communications.

Scenario 2: IP Surveillance for Vehicles

Wireless technology allows vehicles of various shapes and sizes to connect to stationary networks. Applications of this type include bus surveillance, metro surveillance, and truck driver monitoring, all of which are now feasible using wireless communication. Ensuring smooth video streaming while the vehicle’s wireless device is handed off from one access point to another is a major challenge in these applications. Moxa’s wireless devices, which are now widely used to support wireless communications for a variety of mission-critical vehicle applications, combine the company’s expertise in wireless roaming technology and proprietary roaming algorithms.

Scenario 3: Passenger Wi-Fi

The first two application scenarios implement centralised communication, wherein video streams from one or more remote sites are fed to a control centre. However, with the widespread use of handheld devices, industrial wireless is no longer just serving industrial wireless client radios. Setting up a passenger Wi-Fi network on a passenger train is one example. In addition to the high bandwidth required to serve many handheld devices, setting up a reliable wireless backbone network is an important part of onboard Wi-Fi applications. Inter-carriage communication needs a better solution to make setup and maintenance easier for operators, particularly since train consists frequently change during daily service.

Moxa’s Auto Carriage Connection technology is specifically designed to solve this problem by automating the previously manual process of creating new wireless bridges that provide broadband communications throughout the entire train, while still maintaining robust network security.

Choosing the right solution

Regardless of the scenario, providing seamless video transmissions through an industrial video-over-wireless network requires a rugged hardware design. Designed for any kind of industrial application, Moxa’s industrial wireless products feature a wide -40°C to 75°C operating temperate range; vibration-proof M12 and QMA connectors; high level of EMS protection; and a variety of industrial certifications, ensuring that all wireless transmissions are reliable.

Moxa offers all the knowledge, experience, and technology needed to implement seamless video transmission over high bandwidth wireless networks.

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