As a professional engineer and now a business owner, I’ve come to acknowledge reliable communications for what they are: a backbone for keeping businesses and operations running without disturbances. What is it about a functional communications infrastructure that matters so much? Why should we be mindful of it to carry a project or a business forward? Let’s explore this issue! I bet we will all relate to its importance in the work field.


The design of an industrial asset is a thorough task

From the early stages of R & D to more advanced instances, engineers have to address the significant case scenarios that will rule the operational life cycle of the plant, typically defined within a span of 20 years. 

Moreover, engineers have to analyze and calculate the conditions that will trigger both the alarms and response systems to act whenever the installation operates outside of the safety range, a reality that, of course, can imply danger to operators, the process itself, and surrounding areas.

High accuracy in the reading and processing of field data is the key to controlling a process and keeping it within safe bounds and expected performance ranges. There lies the demand for having a reliable communications system! Thus far, counting on a reliable communications network is the only infrastructure that can help engineers secure that data is collected, accounted for, and transmitted in near real-time for prompt action when needed. 

A reliable communications system is essential to track every millisecond of the operations!  

In operations, every millisecond matters. Hence, the necessity to install a communication network that grants:

  • Reliability,
  • Stability,
  • Flexibility,
  • Connectivity, and
  • Safety.

In order to be reliable, the communications system also has to be resistant to the possible environmental hazards and conditions that could jeopardize the integrity of the operations.

How to design a good system?

For today’s standards, the design stage of a robust communications network means engineers have to analyze several aspects to set the final criteria:

  • Standards to follow (open vs. proprietary) and best interfaces for the service (Foundation Fieldbus, analog, Industrial Ethernet, wireless communications, hybrid),
  • Control architecture (local, centralized, distributed),
  • Computer networks (LAN, PAN, VPN, WLAN, etc.) and bandwidth to sustain operations (4G, 5G, or other),
  • Match the demands of legacy systems and (newer) smart ones,
  • Integration and convergence of multiple technologies (optical, wireless, satellite, etc.),
  • Redundancy needs to safeguard critical loops,
  • Scalability (hardware and software robustness to reach performance peaks through time),  
  • Data/service replication and storage (edge computing,  network slicing, etc.),
  • Safety guidelines (EMC assessment, etc.),
  • Room for updates, upgrades, and expansions!

After the design’s approval (technical documentation and drawings), everything is set to begin activities for the system’s installation and eventual operation. 

Once the communications network is operative, you can enhance its performance by fine-tuning these components:

  • Reliability of individual components,
  • Number of paths available,
  • HMI’s functionality,
  • Data quality (transmission and reception), and
  • Utilization efficiency. 

The goal is to minimize the frequency of system outages, identify disruption causes, and develop debugging methods that work and align with the operational realities and needs of your process.

Contact us

I hope this article provided a good insight into the importance of a reliable communications system. Plus all the essentials to consider before and after its installation.

If you need more information or advice on this matter on anything related, contact Verdusco Consulting or message me directly at: