Providing Reliable Telecommunications, WANS and LANS

by | Jun 21, 2006 | Industry, Miscellaneous, Oil & Gas

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Editor

Many industries such as oil and gas production, gas distribution, and LNG processing have the need to communicate over long distances without having readily available communications infrastructure. These manufacturers require voice, data, and/or video communications to operate reliably all day, every day.
I caught up with Gavin Jacobs who manages the telecommunications and network technologies project team for Emerson’s Hydrocarbon and Energy industry organization.
Gavin’s team works with the process manufacturer by starting with a conceptual design which analyzes and defines the requirements for the project. From this point, the architecture and technologies are recommended along with a project plan and schedule. The key to the design is to use the latest, proven technologies, and build upon the group’s best practices standards.
In putting together the plan, the team draws upon their individual experts in local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs) and the methods of transport including radio, satellite, microwave, telephone leased lines, fiber, spread spectrum, and traditional copper cable. They also work with the various LAN/WAN and data acquisition protocols required including TCP/IP, UDP, MODBUS, BSAP, and DNP3. And the group works closely with the suppliers of switches, routers, wireless, cables and other equipment required for the communications networks.
Beyond the upfront consultation and planning, Gavin’s team performs detailed engineering, and follows it through with the implementation, integration, installation, and commissioning. One of the most common causes of LAN communications issues is improper cable installations. This is a critical part of the design, and it should be well documented to minimize installation issues. Also, having equipment and cables rated for their operating environments is critical to reliable and safe operations.
The commissioning process involves validating the communications throughput, monitoring and trending the physical layer, validating packet routing, validating security, and monitoring the protocols to eliminate sources of potential service disruptions. Some of this diagnostic information is often integrated with the manufacturer’s maintenance management system to provide a central area for managing any issues with the network.
Gavin’s team often provides ongoing operational support to help these manufacturers take advantage of communications improvements and cost reductions in these technologies.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.