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Wireless Sensor Network Modeling and Deployment Challenges in Oil and Gas Refinery Plants

International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
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  • Design


Wireless sensor networks for critical industrial applications are becoming a remarkable technological paradigm. Large-scale adoption of the wireless connectivity in the field of industrial monitoring and process control is mandatorily paired with the development of tools for the prediction of the wireless link quality to mimic network planning procedures similar to conventional wired systems. In industrial sites, the radio signals are prone to blockage due to dense metallic structures. The layout of scattering objects from the existing infrastructure influences the received signal strength observed over the link and thus the quality of service (QoS). This paper surveys the most promising wireless technologies for industrial monitoring and control and proposes a novel channel model specifically tailored to predict the quality of the radio signals in environments affected by highly dense metallic building blockage. The propagation model is based on the diffraction theory, and it makes use of the 3D model of the plant to classify the links based on the number and density of the obstructions surrounding each individual radio device. Accurate link classification opens the way to the optimization of the network deployment to guarantee full end-to-end connectivity with minimal on-site redesign. The link-quality prediction method based on the classification of propagation conditions is validated by experimental measurements in two oil refinery sites using industry standard ISA SP100.11a compliant devices operating at 2.4 GHz.

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