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This technical report presents a general tutorial on the basic principles of radio communications, and then discusses the performance of spread spectrum radio systems in the presence of interference from other ISM band users and non-ideal propagation conditions, such as may be expected in the industrial plant environment. Its objective is to give readers a realistic understanding of how radio links can complement and/or replace wired connections, the factors influencing link range, and the pitfalls for the unwary. Industrial applications for wireless communications range from the relatively non-critical, such as asset monitoring to support preventive maintenance programs, all the way to the highly-critical, involving plant, personnel and public safety. The technical report will show that well-designed radio systems can satisfy these varying needs, but that the associated tradeoffs of performance vs. security and reliability result in different system solutions for different applications.
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