Utilizing Radio Frequency (RF) In SCADA Systems For The Water IndustrySource: FreeWave Technologies, Inc.
By Dan Steele, Regional Manager, FreeWave Technologies, Inc.
Radio communications and their advanced flexibility offer technological benefits to new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system deployments as well as a means to upgrade performance to existing SCADA systems. In the water/wastewater industry there needs to be generation/distribution, lift stations and treatment facilities in place (or planned) to meet the expanding growth of a community’s population and/or service areas to meet future requirements. And, correspondingly, each year, the industry deploys more spread spectrum SCADA solutions to help monitor and manage its critical infrastructure.
A wireless I/O (network is a radio system that communicates from the desktop to the Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) or Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), and then to the field instrument (transducer, flow meter, valve, etc.) without wired connections, on one continuous radio network. Modbus is the standard as far as the communication protocol that is used to read I/O values remotely.
Wireless communications allow users to check the status of controllers and attached instrumentation – plus the health of the system itself. This diagnostics capability is available throughout an entire SCADA system, on one continuous network.