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Wireless Option for Building Management System Has Pros and Cons

0712bas.mp3



July 2012 - Building Automation

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from Josh Thompson, of Point Source, LLC: Be familiar with both the pros and cons of wireless building management systems.

Here are

  1. Most BMS systems now afford integration with wireless solutions. Those that are not "native" to a certain technology can be translated with gateways that are readily available and affordable.
  2. Wireless devices allow BMS devices access to challenging and hazardous spaces, including historic/renovation spaces where cables simply cannot be used.
  3. Because there is no need to re-route cabling, there is flexibility in design and facility re-purposes.
  4. In deployment, wireless solutions are often less expensive than hardwired alternatives, particularly when the cost of conduit and copper are factored.
  5. Wireless systems are electrically isolated, making them immune to lightning or other electrical damage.
  6. When properly configured, wireless systems are more secure than a wired equivalent, both in terms of data security and protection from physical damage to infrastructures/cabling.

But beyond those benefits, there are other factors that must also be considered.
  • Wireless solutions require frequency planning coordination and potential IT coordination in design and integration.
  • The bandwidth of a wireless system is limited when compared to wired equivalents.
  • All wireless systems are subject to random interference, with no protection from future encroachment due to an unregulated spectrum.
  • Wireless solutions should never be deployed as part of a life-safety system.
  • Many require a consumable power source (batteries) which requires maintenance (at a cost) or line power, which defeats the benefit of using a wireless device; however, EnOcean devices do not require batteries. If you can get power to a location, you can generally get a signal wire there.
  • Not all spaces are accessible or are shielded from radio frequency transmission.
  • Many sensitive spaces and government facilities do not allow RF radiation of any kind.

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.

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