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Home Choosing A SCADA Radio Technology FCC License or License Free? Design, Test, Then Build It Radio Study Why? How to Build it Reliably Photo Gallery

Need to know how to choose a SCADA radio?  Serial or Ethernet? 1MBPS or 9600BPS?  These are key design questions and really are driven by over the air payload data bandwidth requirements.  DN3P or polling protocals typically keep the demand for high bandwidth payload data rates lower, but these requirements are all predictable by way of design. 

In the
beginning SCADA or telemetry systems were all serial technology 300-1200 bits persecond and bell 202 standard modems were the most common for the transportation of data.  These modems could be used to connect via radio link or those poor and expensive leased telco lines.  Today we have a vast variety of communications technology at our disposal, but there are pros and cons of each to consider.  For example we use radio to talk to distant remote probes in space and these radio communication paths are extremely long, so we know technology exists for the long distance line of sight radio paths.  For exapmel; we are still in communication to Voyager 2 space probe at 465 million kilometers (288,938,000 miles)away from Earth.  Our SCADA projects have limitations; maximum antenna height, cost, and the aesthetics of the antennas profile often drive the choice of which radio communication technology we can practically implement.

Over the air bandwidth and range has an inverse relationship, the more bandwidth required the less radio range we can expect in the radio link to have.  The less far we can communicate. These larger bandwidth paths require be less obstructions, this is evident in the license free radios that provide 100 KBPS or more typically Ethernet capable and in the license free bands of 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 3.65 GHz and 5.4-5.8 GHz spectrum, these links can talk out several miles, but require an almost perfect visual line of site between the antenna systems of the radios, for extremely short paths there can be some exceptions to this idea.  The FCC licensed 150, 220, 408, 450, and 950 MHz telemetry/SCADA channels are geared for up to about 50 KBPS or less of over the air throughput but have the ability to penetrate non line of sight paths of over 10 miles are achievable.

The above paragraph underscores the need for a savvy radio system designer to be consulted when new SCADA system is proposed.  Experience is key and a design and test strategy is often the best strategy before building a mission critical SCADA operation.

Please browse this site, if you have any questions or a specific project you would like to discuss, please feel free to call on me, Mark Lavallee.  I truly enjoy sharing my 20+ years of specialized experience and knowledge.  My company is often called upon assist consultants, controls system integrators, and occasionally with the end users directly.  We are highly specialized with tools and talent for evaluating troubles with existing SCADA systems, selecting the best SCADA radio technology for new systems, and provide design of the RF paths, including infield radios studies.

My phone number is 954-961-2642 or email:  mark.lavallee@scadaradionetworks.com
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