A History of Wireless Communication and Yokogawa's Approach

Download (221 KB)

A History of Wireless Communication and Yokogawa's Approach

Chiaki Itoh signature

Chiaki Itoh
Business Planning Division,
Industrial Automation Marketing Headquarters

Chiaki ItohWireless technology has a long history, and it began around the time that James C. Maxwell theoretically predicted and then proved the existence of electromagnetic waves in the 1860s, and when Heinrich R. Hertz experimentally confirmed the actual existence of the electromagnetic wave in 1888. In 1895, Guglielmo Marconi succeeded in receiving Morse code on a radio wave transmitted by a spark-gap transmitter with a receiver 2.4 km away. This experiment demonstrated the basic concept and framework of wireless communication today. In wireless communication, the transmitter sends target information by superimposing it on a carrier wave, and the receiver obtains the information by extracting the superimposed information from the carrier wave.

After that, research into wireless communication was advanced mainly for military use, and various wireless technologies were developed and improved. Wireless communication was also expanded on a commercial basis in the area of broadcasting, one of the significant applications of wireless communication. Radio broadcasts started in the first half of the 20th century and TV broadcasts started in the second half. Since the late 1980s, wireless communication has been widely used in mobile phones and other mobile terminals by individuals as these technologies, principally in semiconductor and software, have rapidly developed in line with the spread of the new infrastructure of the Internet. These are also even changing models of business and social life.

Wireless communication technologies are being developed and spreading in various fields of industry. In particular, the research and development of wireless sensor network technology and its applications are in rapid progress. New systems are being developed, which integrate general purpose sensor nodes and devices, and can operate for several years with batteries while autonomously configuring their own networks. Meanwhile, wireless digital technologies have advanced, and their practical use for resolving security issues such as radio interception or interference, which are problems with conventional analog wireless systems, have significantly progressed. On the basis of development of these platforms, the applications of wireless communication technologies are spreading to various fields, including disaster prevention, disaster response, crime prevention, security checks, environmental protection, health and welfare, transport and logistics, and monitoring and control of buildings and facilities.

Yokogawa has developed field wireless devices and systems for various sites in industries, and they are currently used in many plants. Their effectiveness in many actual applications is proven-such advantages as no need of wiring, and the potential for mounting sensors on mobile or rotating bodies, something physically impossible with traditional wired systems.

Since ancient times, human beings have used numerous ways to transmit information. Human voices were used first, then sounds such as drums or conch shell horns, and then smoke from signal fires were used. Interestingly, some proof has been found that the color or interval of smoke signals was changed to specify different meanings. The ingenuity and wisdom of ancient people is impressive, as they understood the necessity of the digitization of information, and seemed to have achieved it. After this, text began to be used for transmitting information, and a variety of methods were implemented, including mail delivery systems using horses. This was the beginning of today's postal system and has developed further into telegraph, telephone, Internet based email systems, and Social Network Systems (SNS). At present, it can be said that human beings are faced with an explosive diversity in information transmission.

Industrial plants are also faced with a situation with changes similar to those described above. Traditional sensing targets in plants were simple physical quantities including temperature and flow rate or stoichiometric amount. However, with recent advances of field devices in functionality, performance and digitization, various types of data including vibration, sound and video can be obtained, and concurrent access to accumulated time series data is possible as well. These make it possible to grasp entire system conditions more comprehensively than with only the traditional measurements. Measurement and control including this data is thus becoming more important. Meanwhile, for these data, more complex parameters need to be set to the field devices. To respond to these trends, digital communication is inevitably required, and for that purpose, the importance of industrial wireless communication and sensor networks is increasing.

The cloud computing model has emerged as the infrastructure used to process such complex and large volumes of data. The measurement data can be used for whole plant safety, maintainability, and efficiency by using data analysis, trend analysis and so on, which other systems cannot perform easily.

Yokogawa has a research department studying, proposing, and promoting new strategies in field digitization together with a department developing and promoting wireless solutions. By effectively using platforms such as evolved devices and systems, Yokogawa offers proposals to improve customer safety and efficiency throughout the life cycle of a plant, from startup to operations, including improvement and maintenance.

Compatibility and operability are important factors for both wired and wireless communication. When both parties follow a common protocol for communication, interoperability is ensured. From this point of view, standardization and regularization are crucial for field wireless devices and systems. On the basis of a variety of application experiences in the process automation area, and on customer feedback, Yokogawa has studied various factors such as security, reliability, robustness, real-time performance, functionality and expandability in communication. As a result, Yokogawa decided to participate in defining the ISA100.11a standard, and has been making efforts to improve it to a user friendly, international standard for wireless communication. In 2010, Yokogawa developed the world's first field wireless devices and field wireless integrated gateway for configuring a system that conforms to the ISA100.11a standard. In 2012, we launched field wireless devices and systems which support almost all the features defined in the ISA100.11a. Yokogawa declares that it will continue promoting this standard with other companies, and with contributing to its further standardization and interoperation among the products of different companies.

This issue of the Yokogawa Technical Report describes Yokogawa's overall wireless instrumentation technologies, its efforts for international standardization and so on, and also specifically reports various field wireless products developed by Yokogawa, and the technologies supporting these products. Field wireless technologies keep progressing rapidly and new applications are constantly created. Yokogawa will work hard in this evolving field and keep offering new value to customers. We are convinced that Yokogawa will meet your expectations.


  • Drilling

    Onshore unconventional drilling is commonly used in the extraction of oil and natural gas today. There are an increasing number of multi-well pad type drilling programs in most of the active plays. Different drilling technics are used to decrease drilling time, lower environmental impact and to improve initial and estimated ultimate recovery.

    See More
  • Oil & Gas Midstream

    Yokogawa's innovative technology platforms and industry leading execution is well regarded in the global marketplace as a solutions partner pioneering the integration of technologies for all aspects of the oil & gas ecosystem from reservoir to enterprise. Proven solutions that include predicative business modeling, plant optimization and highly reliable automation platforms are assisting midstream operators to run their businesses at the optimal efficiencies. Yokogawa is helping clients to develop their automation roadmaps ensuring years of highly effective asset utilization and sustainability.

    See More
  • Onshore

    The onshore upstream industry faces ever higher demands and greater challenges with increasingly difficult and hostile environments in which it must operate.

    See More
  • Power

    In the mid 1970s, Yokogawa entered the power business with the release of the EBS Electric Control System. Since then, Yokogawa has steadfastly continued with the development of our technologies and capabilities for providing the best services and solutions to our customers worldwide.

    Yokogawa has operated the global power solutions network to play a more active role in the dynamic global power market. This has allowed closer teamwork within Yokogawa, bringing together our global resources and industry know-how. Yokogawa's power industry experts work together to bring each customer the solution that best suits their sophisticated requirements.

    See More
  • Topsides

    • Topsides processing and handling on the production platform prep extracted hydrocarbons for transport
    • Yokogawa integrated control/monitoring maximize topsides operations productivity and availability
    See More
  • Water & Wastewater

    All water, regardless of its source, has value. However, with water resources being finite, a focus on "One Water" is necessary to maximize every drop within the water system, ensuring a stable supply of clean and safe water.  As we consider current and future needs, planning and implementation are critical for long-term resilience and reliability, meeting both community and ecosystem demands. Yokogawa believes water is a human right for all. Thus, contributing to a sustainable water cycle is one of our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    See More
  • Wellhead & Separation

    The wellhead provides the structural and pressure-containing interface for the drilling and production equipment. The surface pressure control is provided by a christmas tree, which is installed on top of the wellhead. Isolation valves and choke equipment physically control the flow of well fluids when the well goes into production. Various automation packages are added to locally or remotely monitor, control and optimize production from each well or multi-well pad. Oilfield separators employ a pressure vessel to separate well fluids produced from oil and gas wells into gaseous and liquid components which are then transferred to pipelines or localized storage depending on the areas infrastructure.

    See More

Related Products & Solutions

  • YFGW410 Field Wireless Management Station

    YFGW410 Field Wireless Management Station has system manager/security manager/gateway function based on ISA100.11a, and combining this with Field Wireless Access Point(YFGW510) and/or Field Wireless Media Converter(YFGW610) composes the field wireless system.

    See More
  • YFGW510 Field Wireless Access Point

    YFGW510 Field Wireless Access Poin has backbone router function based on ISA, and combining this with Field Wireless Management Station (YFGW410) and/or Field Wireless Media Converter (YFGW610) composes the field wireless system.

    See More
  • YFGW520 Field Wireless Access Point

    YFGW520 Field Wireless Access Poin has backbone router function based on ISA, and combining this with Field Wireless Management Station (YFGW410) and/or Field Wireless Media Converter (YFGW610) composes the field wireless system.

    See More
  • YFGW710 Field Wireless Integrated Gateway

    YFGW710 Field Wireless Integrated Gateway comply to the wireless communications standard ISA100.11a for industrial automation of International Society of Automation (ISA), and relays ISA100 Device data to the system via integrated backbone router. Single unit of YFGW710 has integrated functions of backbone router, system manager, security manage, and gateway.

    See More