How to Save Money and Speed Turnarounds with Wireless Networks – Part 2
Last month we discussed for industrial applications. We went over how these networks can eliminate repetitive work, free up workers for other tasks, and improve safety. Today, we will focus on the installation and security aspects of wireless networks.
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These networks are often implemented using the standard Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11-2007 protocol that allows cooperative use of the 3650-3700 MHz band to enable a streamlined approach to spectrum management. It allows for multiple users even in rural areas to share location tracking, video over wireless, field data, and even control network bridging. For example, a few stations may be installed in a large oil field with some installed at each pump, oil rig, or vehicle. The wireless network allows you to manage aspects of the network while providing invaluable data. This includes before, during, and after a turnaround. The network must be designed by IT professionals with the help of the managers and owners of the operation.
It all begins with a professional site assessment that is generally done through engineers who conduct a radio frequency front-end design plan. They establish access point locations, control locations, and other essential onsite data. Afterwards, they design the wireless network architecture based on the infrastructure and intended applications as well as the plant’s required output and operation parameters. The network is then designed and then physically installed with all management and commissioning in place.
Security for Wireless Networks in Turnarounds
It is one goal to have the proper system up and working. It is another to keep the system secure from hacks, attacks, and even accidents. Wireless field networks use mesh architecture that is generally secure overall. This is because it is resistant to jam attacks, uses AES-128 encryption, individual session keys to ensure message to message authenticity, CRC and MIC authentication and verification, all devices approved, and white listing options. In short, your wireless network will be more of an intranet where only approved users and devices are allowed access.
Securing the wireless network also requires a human touch. All administrators must be approved and be aware of all protocols. They must also be knowledgable when assigning privileges to access the network, as well as terminating them for users who no longer need to access the network. Administrators may also be charged with monitoring certain personnel and devices to ensure they are where they are supposed to be and are used in the intended manner.
One of the worst scenarios is to have your network hacked or go down at the wrong time during a turnaround. Assuring the above and other measures will greatly reduce the chances of these scenarios.
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