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WirelessHART Networks: 7 Myths That Cloud Their Consideration for Process Control

Posted by: | Posted on: July 3, 2019

Nowadays, we see wireless technology everywhere all around us. That makes it popular across the globe. With such incredible popularity, there’s some misinformation about WirelesHART that prevails among this industry.

Whether it’s the routers, smartphones or Televisions, all use the wireless technology. But still, there is some hesitation towards embracing wireless communication due to perceived difficulties. While having a significant impact on almost every business sector, especially the automation industry, a considerable fraction of business operations depend on the WirelessHART network.

Good Side! It makes things easier and convenient for businesses. What’s the Problem? Some myths are also going on around that need to be debunked. The experts of this industry have tried to debunk these myths for you. So let’s dive in;

  1. WirelessHART is Unsafe

Not really! It’s not true. WirelessHART is safe as a variety of tools make it so. A WirelessHART network encrypts all the communications. It has the network that uses a 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption system, which is a standard in many fields of wired communication. The encryption just can’t be disabled. The security manager in the WirelessHART gateway administers 3 major parameters that include Network ID, Join key and Session key.

  1. WirelessHART Networks are Expensive

While the WirelessHART networks might cost a little bit higher, initial outlay shouldn’t be confused with the total ownership cost.  Wired devices need add-ons that WirelessHART networks don’t like cabling, cabling trays & junction boxes.  All these components should be bought, prepared & installed, bumping up costs before a network gets functional, with additional time & expenses.

  1. WirelessHART Networks are Not Reliable

Honestly, the WirelessHART is way more reliable than cabled networks. It’s all because of the time-synchronized, meshed networks and frequency hopping.  The gateway creates empty communications paths that can be used in case one path fails.  Besides, the transmitted data packets can also hop around from node to node while identifying a stable communication path before reaching communication endpoint.

  1. The Range is Too Short

Practically, the WirelessHART network coverage reaches to approx. 300 feet if robust setup recommendations are followed.  You can achieve the Strong coverage by installing 3-devices within range of each other along with the gateway in the middle of network.  It helps eliminate pinch points that may risk network failure while shortening battery life.

  1. Constantly need New Batteries

Since it’s wireless, the devices need batteries obviously.  Practically, batteries need to be replaced after a certain period.  However, you can try to prolong battery life.  Keep in mind! All WirelessHART devices have some specified update rate.  If these are kept to 4-seconds or more, it’ll have a positive impact on battery life.  And that’s how you can increase the battery life.

  1. WirelessHART requires Specialists to Set-up

It’s not that difficult seriously. You can set up very easily. You just need a WirelessHART device, a gateway to communicate between the host application as well as the device network along with the set of network parameters like network I.D. & join key.  Installation isn’t as simple as the wired HART devices but is way less tricky with no requirement for cabling.  It’ll also benefit installations in hazardous areas, with WirelessHART devices that need only an intrinsically safe power module rather than the paraphernalia required to ensure the safety of a wired device.

  1. WirelessHART is Slow

Not Really! WirelessHART has a speed of 250K bits/sec that’s 200x faster than wired HART and 6x faster than HART over RS-485 cables.  In case it’s not enough as per your needs, you can also adjust the speed & performance as the update rate can easily be configured between once per second or once per hour.  Since most of the WirelessHART devices monitor applications and don’t control them, update rates can be easily set at over 1-Sec in order to maintain reliable network speed.





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