Does implementing wireless make more sense for remote monitoring process conditions?

When should wires be replaced with a wireless system or solution?

When an operator faces making the decision of going with a wired or hardwired remote monitoring system versus a wireless remote monitoring system, in today’s world, there is only one clear answer. And the answer is: go wireless. Once cost, time of implementation, safety, feasibility, flexibility, and reliability are factored in and measured, the advantages and benefits of a wireless system heavily outweighs what wire systems can provide to an organization.

Below is a quick digest why one should go wireless for remote monitoring applications or be used for retrofitting an old wired system.


- Wires are expensive: copper wires have gone up in price. The price of copper in 1994 was less than a $1 per pound. Today, copper trades between $3.50 and $4.50.
- Cost of permitting, transporting machines, digging/trenching, running conduit and wires also have to be factored in.
- Hardwiring also requires the service of an electrician.
- Going wireless eliminates the above costly factors.


- How long will it take to get a permit for trenching?
- How long will it take to implement and install the entire hardwired system?
- Wireless system requires no permitting and can be installed in less than one day.


- Is it safe to dig? Are there unknown hazards, unknown pipelines underground?
- Wireless is safer since it does not tamper with anything underground.
- Modern wireless equipment meet or exceed Class 1, Division 1 certification requirements and are intrinsically safe and cannot cause an explosion.


- Are there physical challenges to run wires? Climate, rugged terrain, water, mud, rock?
- The beauty of a wireless system is that it goes over-the-air so it can tackle the roughest conditions.
- Wireless is extremely flexible and requires much less time planning and implementing.


- Wireless system can easily be adjusted, fixed, or replaced,
- Wireless system can even move from site to site.


- With wires, there are environmental factors such as lightning hazards (fire), galvanic corrosion, electrolysis, and other debilitating wear and tear on the wiring over time.
- Wires get stolen. Wires get eaten.
- Wires are harder to detect the point of failure.
- Wireless systems that are used in the remote fields today are proving its reliability and accuracy.
- The growing usage of wireless measurement devices and services is staggering:
- 2012 near $1.5 billion vs 2007 0.6 billion (300% growth over 5 years)
- Wireless transmitters and gateways offer robust radio frequency (RF) range so that it can easily be offered as a wire replacement retrofit solution.
- Replaceable battery on a self-contained transmitter provides long life of up to ten (10) year battery life.