Wireless technology offers a method of communication without cables or wires, using RF (radio frequency) waves or infrared (IrDA) waves. Information that can be sent over such media is called wireless data.
The need to readily connect any time, anywhere, particularly for data purposes, has increased by multifold recently and it has triggered the extensive research activities in the wireless domain. The factors that have accelerated the usage of wireless data transfer include vast improvements in digital signal processing, new standards such as the IEEE 802.11, the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and Bluetooth.
These developments are creating a revolution in wireless data capabilities, products and user interest. Wireless technology is extensively used at home and in the office. Many sectors have started using wireless data transfer considering the advantages it offers. These include:
- General laboratories
- Industrial units
- Automotive, marine and aerospace
- Seismic, geotechnical, and meteorology departments
- Medical and biomedical fields
All the sectors mentioned above use data for analysis and statistics. Data used to be collected using input/output devices, sensors, etc. and passed to the data processing center. This process was called remote data acquisition or data collection. However, this method had some drawbacks like huge setups, extensive cabling, and the costs incurred for the infrastructure.
Wireless data acquisition systems were implemented to overcome the limitations of conventional data collection setups. The advantages of these systems are:
- They offer customized software interfaces and applications.
- They provide significant savings in installation and infrastructure costs.
- They save time spent making contact measurements in hard-to-reach locations and in plugging and unplugging sensors.
- They increase safety by making it possible to maintain a safe distance from dangerous equipment and hazardous locations while making measurements.
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