Many Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems use radio communication between the master site and the remote sites. Some types of communication require licensing through the FCC. UIS can provide assistance in processing new and modified FCC licenses. We also perform in-house and field propagation studies.
Radio waves have electromagnetic properties that are affected by many factors as they are transmitted or propagated through the air. For example, power decreases with distance. In free space, doubling the distance between the transmitter and receiver will decrease the received power by one quarter. Other factors that can degrade transmission are surfaces and obstacles that can cause absorption, diffraction, and/or reflections of the original signal. To compensate for these factors, an antenna is often used. An antenna is designed to raise the power in the desired direction and reduce it in unwanted directions. Typically, an omni-directional antenna is used at a master or store and forward site since these locations need to transmit and receive signals equally in all directions. A directional antenna, such as a Yagi, is usually placed at remote sites since it is desired that signals be transmitted and received in a specific direction. Propagation studies help determine a good communication path between sites. This is vital to maintaining your SCADA system.
Propagation studies can also identify problems when trouble-shooting. For new and existing systems, we can perform coordinated in-house and field propagation studies that determine antenna heights and bearings, power requirements, and store and forward sites. We also perform field evaluations to determine component integrity (i.e., loose connector, damaged cable), radio communication, and frequency verification and modulation. We recommend performing a maintenance check on your system every two years.