Wireless SCADA Solutions

Many municipalities are electing to replace traditional phone line communications with wireless communications systems. There are a variety of reasons for this change including cost savings, reliability, greater versatility, and faster speeds. ACS offers options to municipalities looking to improve their SCADA communications and operations.

Radio Communications

ACS installs both licensed and unlicensed radio communications systems. A licensed system communicates via a radio frequency that is registered with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) which guarantees exclusive rights to a frequency in a given area. A frequency license can be obtained through ACS. Unlicensed systems are also available and typically they are 900 MHz spread spectrum. Communications over radio are up to ten times faster than phone lines which allows for greater versatility. A radio communications system consists of radios mounted inside RTU panels at each site with antennas to transmit the data. Two antenna types are a yagi directional antenna which transmits data in a specific direction and a low profile omni-directional antenna which transmits data at 360 degrees.

  • System Pays for Itself Over an Average of 6 Years.
  • Speeds 10 Times Faster Than Conventional Leased Phone Lines Which Allows Greater Versatility.
  • More Ease and Reliability with Less Data Fails and Maintenance.
  • Less Downtime for Service.
  • Eliminate the Rising Costs of the Phone Company.
  • Affordable Viability Survey Available with Full Report.
  • Licensed or Unlicensed Systems Available.
  • Helps Reduce the Cost of Telephone Lines.

 

Cellular Communications

Another wireless option is a cellular communications network. This network is more cost effective and reliable. It also utilizes technology and a network infrastructure that is relied upon by both individuals and public safety entities such as police and fire departments. A cellular communications system consists of a cellular modem mounted in the RTU enclosure and a small unobtrusive antenna that sends the signal to the cellular network. The signal is then received by the master, similar to how a text message is sent and received.

 Cell Network

Security and Reliability
Data sent and received through the cellular network is encrypted and also protected by firewalls, so the network is as secure as any typical SCADA network. Most security problems are caused by the installer’s lack of diligence. For example, the modems come with security features such as firewalls that are often left with the default settings. Proper configuration of the cellular modem will make a system secure. A typical concern with cellular service is that calls are dropped and it can become unreliable in times of high usage. For example, if there is an emergency situation, networks can become “flooded” due to high usage of cell phones during a crisis. This would not be a concern with a cellular communication system installed by ACS because ACS provides Verizon cellular services. Verizon partitions their network so that the data communications are handled separately from voice communications. This ensures that there will not be data interruptions during times of high traffic or emergencies.
 
Service and Maintenance
The SCADA customer pays a small monthly fee to ACS according to the data plan that is needed. ACS would handle all service and be the single point of contact for the SCADA customer. The customer will not have to worry about having to contact the cellular provider in addition to ACS for service issues.
 

Wireless SCADA PDF