The just-published NIST Guide to Wireless Systems Deployments in industrial environments was developed by a group of experts on wireless communications from government, industry, and academia. The guide is aimed at alleviating concerns about reliability, integrity, and security, which have hampered the adoption and use of wireless industrial networks.

The document provides background, strategies, and tools starting with wireless basics. It goes on to best practices such as optimal antenna placement, getting around obstructions and interference problems, and preventing redundant signal paths. It also covers the use of wireless to enhance factory safety and the critical issue of protecting and securing the network.

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Using a novel testbed that recreates factory environments in the lab, NIST engineer Rick Candell helps “cut the cords” (and wires) from industrial communications networks by studying how different factory layouts affect wireless radio frequencies, and in turn, how this impacts factory performance. (Image Credit: NIST, Earl Zubkoff)