Powering digital systems in power stations
By M Hattingh, Skywire Technologies
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Electricity+Control, June 2013 (pages 14 – 16)
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Today's wireless networks are as reliable as wired networks and in many cases just as fast. Aside from being lower cost and less intense to install than wired solutions, wireless is also more flexible, because it is not a permanent fixture in the plant. It can be easily upgraded, maintained and managed, unlike fibre. The major benefit wireless brings is the cost savings associated with the installation of the communications system. Depending on the installation location, it may be impractical or even impossible to dig a trench to lay fibre optic cable.
For example, laying fibre optic cable would be nearly impossible in or around steam straps or settling ponds. Even if a cabled option is possible at a site, a fibre optic installation is far more expensive. On average, wireless can be 40 - 60% less expensive than wired for the total installed cost. In addition, wireless can be up to 70% faster to install, helping accelerate project schedules. While wireless technology will not be replacing wires totally in a power plant, it is a serious contender for solving problems that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive with wired solutions.
- Digital equipment is pervasive.
- Electronics and smart equipment are in substations.
- Wireless solutions are robust enough and reliable enough to serve critical equipment in the power environment.