Wireless Communications for Industrial Applications

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Executive Summary

Data buses like Modbus and Profibus are no longer the de facto standard for industrial communications; both have been overtaken by Ethernet. Ethernet accommodates a wide range of applications, has become universally supported by communications equipment manufacturers, and counts ease of configuration and low cost among its many advantages. Ethernet also easily encapsulates industrial equipment protocols and is quickly becoming the standard of choice for many short-range communications links. For all of its advantages, however, wired Ethernet shares one significant drawback with other wired industrial networking approaches: Cabling. Distance and cost limitations associated with wired links surface quickly on sprawling factory floors and in large industrial settings, and running cable to new or relocated equipment can interrupt production.

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