Perspectives on the Industrial Internet of Things

Scott Allen

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The Wireless Oilfield

The Wireless Oilfield

As the Industrial IoT (IIoT) drives connectivity everywhere, wireless technology has become a mainstay in the energy landscape. Modern oil and gas companies rely on wireless communication solutions to control, monitor and transfer critical data for its most critical field operations.

As technology decision makers continue to seek new ways to connect the oilfield, they are inundated with options. However, if they desire networks that will remain relevant as technology rapidly changes, they need to be focused on finding wireless solutions that can handle modern data needs.

Wireless I/O solutions

In the oilfield, different applications have different needs. For example, many assets are operating in hazardous environments where explosive gas is present. The technology operating in these environments needs a C1D1 certification for safe operations. The good news is that there is wireless technology designed and certified to perform in these environments. C1D1 wireless Input/output (I/O) technology can perform to the standards that ensure both safety and connectivity for the modern oilfield.

When wireless I/O is incorporated into small field networks, medium plant operations and/or large SCADA systems, operators can receive wireless sensor measurements, physical control and communications between remote controllers from a single device. In the simplest of terms, wireless I/O is wire replacement, where the wireless communications link emulates wire in an existing application. No changes are required to the system architecture. Rather, wireless links are used to transmit the same data that the physical wire once carried. With a C1D1 certification, wireless I/O solutions offer a much needed hard wire replacement for extremely remote assets in hazardous environments.

Wireless Oilfield Applications

As more sensors are added along the wireless oilfield, there are many different applications that can be pulled into the wireless network. New C1D1 wireless I/O communication technology also is designed to provide the communication link for the IIoT network in order to achieve the level of connectivity needed for today’s IoT driven-marketplace. There are a number of applications that can be leveraged by the wireless communication network including:

  • Separator: monitoring of flow, high level alarm, pressures and temperatures
  • Production tanks: C1D1-cerfied measurement and high level alarm
  • Backhaul: data collection and transport from the wellhead to SCADA system
  • Wellhead: pressure monitoring, including – casing, tubing and surface pressures. Additional applications include, flow, plunger lift, valve actuator, and arrival sensor
  • Control Panel: wirelessly connect PLC/RTU/Flow computer to sensors, link to IIoT, I/O expansion
  • Flarestack: monitor flares, temperature and thermocouple
  • Chemical injections: monitor tank level and temperatures
  • Compressor: monitoring of pressures temperatures and monitor/control on/off statuses.

These are some of the many applications that can be connected with modern wireless technology. As the oil and gas industry continues to embrace wireless technology, special attention needs to be paid to the solutions that will still be relevant years down the road. A C1D1 certified wireless radio solution that connects to the IIoT network is an ideal solution that not only supports field assets, but is designed with the future of wireless communications in mind.

More Stories By Scott Allen

Scott is an executive leader with more than 25 years of experience in product lifecycle management, product marketing, business development, and technology deployment. He offers a unique blend of start-up aggressiveness and established company executive leadership, with expertise in product delivery, demand generation, and global market expansion. As CMO of FreeWave, Scott is responsible for product life cycle/management, GTM execution, demand generation, and brand creation/expansion strategies.

Prior to joining FreeWave, Scott held executive management positions at Fluke Networks (a Danaher Company), Network Associates (McAfee), and several start-ups including Mazu Networks and NEXVU Business Solutions. Scott earned his BA in Computer Information Systems from Weber University.