Oddly, disaster boosts ‘good’ wireless future
Houston—Speaking the day after cell phones carried final messages of love from victims on hijacked airplanes and at the World Trade Center, a space communications expert told an ISA 2001 gathering, “There’s a good future for wireless sensors and wireless communications.”
At the time, Charles Dusold, who manages communications and tracking systems for the International Space Station, was referring to industrial applications. However, with air travel stopped and thousands of people buried in building rubble, personal security also was very much on the minds of Dusold’s plenary session audience the morning of 12 September.
All realized cell phones and other mobile communicating devices are ideal in emergency situations—underscored by the upshot in Nokia stock price in Europe that day.
Though much of his career has focused on aerospace telemetry applications, Dusold stuck to down-to-earth industrial and home-driven wireless applications at his ISA 2001 session.
Bluetooth and IEEE 802 are winning the wireless standards wars, he said. “Bluetooth is probably ahead of 802 because there are 2,164 members of the Bluetooth special interest group,” the Boeing senior manager for space station communications and tracking systems said. IEEE 802.15, officially known as Standards for Wireless Personal Area, is looking for ways to achieve compatibility with Bluetooth, he said.
Agreeing Ethernet is fast becoming the protocol of choice for industrial applications, the Boeing executive said, “It’s getting to the point where 802 can have seamless operation with Ethernet, and Bluetooth is getting close to it.”
Meanwhile, on the ISA 2001 exhibit floor, wireless networking equipment maker Cirronet unveiled its SEM2410X system, designed to enable long-range wireless Ethernet connections in harsh indoor and outdoor environments.
Norcross, Ga.–based Cirronet’s system uses 2.4-gigahertz, frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum technology that, the company said, makes it immune to jamming and multipath fading.
Separately, Gaithersburg, Md.–based Wilcoxon Research Inc., a manufacturer of vibration sensors, unveiled its BlueLynx wireless data link system for industrial process control applications featuring Bluetooth technology.
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