Mission-critical oil and gas communication networks

Paul Boughton

Oil and gas communications networks are mission critical, but often must be deployed at offshore oil fields in an environment with severe hazards and challenges. Stefan Palm reports.

To successfully monitor a drilling platform remotely, the entire infrastructure needs to be extremely reliable and available.

In addition to redundant wired or wireless network systems with failover capability, the network equipment must comply with industrial standards that certify its ability to operate in an environment with varying temperatures, corrosion, and vibration.

For applications in the oil and gas industry, Moxa offers highly secure, robust, and available network solutions tailored for offshore data collection, including a full suite of industrial L3/L2 Ethernet switches, industrial wireless Ethernet products, industrial secure routers, zone 2 panel PCs, embedded computers, IP video products, RTU controllers and remote I/O devices, and serial-to-Ethernet device servers.

For maximum connection flexibility, Moxa’s industrial Ethernet switches support 10/100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, and 10 Gbps speeds with modules available with copper, fibre, and SFP ports.

Moxa’s Turbo Ring and Turbo Chain redundant technologies enable an integrated, hassle-free network with 20ms fast recovery for both control and field networks.

The products support an extended operating temperature range, robust housing, fanless operation, long-distance and EMI-immune fiber connections, surge protection, and redundant power inputs to guarantee top performance over a long lifetime.

Many of Moxa’s products have achieved UL/cUL Class I Division 2, ATEX Zone 2, IECEx, and DNV/GL/ABS/LR/NK certification for use in marine settings or hazardous environments containing volatile flammable liquids and gases.

Moxa’s wireless Ethernet solutions have become the infrastructure of choice for offshore oil an gas applications due to their rugged industrial design, advances in security protection, and innovative dual-radio Turbo Roaming technology that optimises bandwidth and redundancy.

The harsh environment in the petroleum industry takes its toll. Especially industrial-grade panel PCs that are used in extremely low temperatures will typically have serious problems. Automated heating systems are a key improvement for systems built to withstand outdoor temperature extremes.

Moxa´s EXPC-1319 hazardous area panel computers feature such a heating solution. They are fanless, durable devices made for hazardous environments, whether indoors or out.

The EXPC-1319 series features the Intel Atom dual core 1.8GHz processor, with up to 4 GB of memory available to deliver high performance processing for hazardous locations as are frequently found in oil and gas fields.

The EXPC-1319 is Zone 2 certified, and comes with two software-selectable RS-232/422/485 serial ports alongside two Gigabit LAN ports, providing reliable serial and high speed Ethernet LAN transmissions with full network redundancy.

EXPC-1319 computers come with a patented, fanless, streamlined enclosure design that gives highly efficient heat dissipation, making this one of the most reliable industrial platforms available for harsh, hot outdoors

In addition, EXPC-1319 computers come with an expanded set of self-health diagnostics over SNMP, ideal for remote monitoring and control. Finally, these computers feature capacitive touch screen controls with glass-film-glass bonding, making them scratch-and glare-resistant and easily read even during the peak daylight hours.

Stefan Palm is Business Development Manager EC, Moxa Europe GmbH, Unterschleissheim, Germany. www.moxa.com  

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