Edge Devices Bring Strategic Value to the Field Area Network

By Ray Savich   October 10, 2016

Technology transformations over the past few years have seen intelligence shift significantly to the edge of the network. It is with these devices on the edge that mission-critical tasks like access control and data collection take place.

As this shift to the edge continues, I believe the most critical part of the network architecture will actually be the reliability of the field area network. With a strong communications network carrying real-time information bi-directionally between edge devices and monitoring systems, it becomes much easier to centrally maintain and optimize operations.

For an example of how this works, consider the modernization of the electric power grid. Electricity providers can now use field information to perform confident decision-making in real time, from restoring service to outage-affected areas to managing the distribution of energy in off-peak usage hours. As a result they can save money, reduce wasteful energy consumption, and deliver faster, better service to their customers.

It’s this exact kind of efficiency that our Texas-based customer GVEC, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, achieves with a strong wireless communications infrastructure. “We need to be able to receive data inputs from strategically determined collection points across our service territory and optimize our infrastructure to deliver power to the end user, or receive power from the end user and re-distribute it to others in the region,” according to Sean Alvarez, GVEC’s Chief Operating Officer. “None of this can be accomplished without a strong communications network.”

In fact, communications infrastructure has become an increasingly strategic asset to most businesses. Any industrial network, regardless of the technology used, must be resilient, secure and efficient. As a company with experience operating more than 10,000 wireless solutions in environments all across the world, we’ve learned the key pillars of a successful field area network:

  • Security – Information must be processed without intrusion.
  • Spectrum Optimization – The network must carry the most amount of information in the least amount of spare spectrum.
  • Scalability – The network must continue to perform as new nodes are added.
  • Noise Tolerance – The system must transfer information reliably regardless of other emitters.

Cambium Networks has deep experience in mitigating the risks to these kinds of communications networks, from self-interference to noise floor impediments. We also work closely to make sure our solutions are flexible enough to adapt to regulatory changes in 3 and 5GHz and other appropriate bands.

Curious how your organization can improve the efficiency and reliability of your field area networks? Learn more about our Industrial Internet of Things solutions and view our recorded webinar