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Wireless Option for Building Management System Has Pros and Cons
July 24, 2012 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
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.
- 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.
- Wireless devices allow BMS devices access to challenging and hazardous spaces, including historic/renovation spaces where cables simply cannot be used.
- Because there is no need to re-route cabling, there is flexibility in design and facility re-purposes.
- In deployment, wireless solutions are often less expensive than hardwired alternatives, particularly when the cost of conduit and copper are factored.
- Wireless systems are electrically isolated, making them immune to lightning or other electrical damage.
- 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.